Barretstown makes a difference in kid’s lives but also in grown up’s lives

I’m Celia Rocamora, one of the volunteers in session 5. I know I’ve already told you how grateful I am for this opportunity and how it’s been a life changing experience. I had heard many people say Barretstown changes your life but until I experienced it I couldn’t realise how true this is. Barretsown makes you see the world in a different perspective and, for some reason, challenges don’t feel so challenging after you’ve met all the amazing children and caras.

My first day at camp, when the children weren’t in Barretstown yet, I felt a bit anxious. I started to doubt myself and I didn’t know if I had what it takes to be a good cara. When I met the kids, I completely forgot about this thoughts. Being a good cara for this kids just felt natural! One of the most life changing moments was when I met one particular camper, the blind kid in my cottage. The great thing about Barretstown is that he wasn’t “the blind kid” anymore, he was just himself. Sometimes we even forgot he was blind because we were so used to him being able to do almost everything by himself! When I first met him, I was teaching the kids some magic tricks with wool and some of them were making bracelets. He asked me for a piece of wool and told me he knew how to make bracelets with knots. After I gave it to him he said “I like making bracelets but I don’t really care if the colours match!” and he started to roar with laughter. I’ve had lots of magic moments with most of the kids but I think I’ll hear this words in my head every time I don’t know how to deal with something. Actually, I’ve spent ten minutes reading this paragraph over and over again to try to find a way to describe what I felt in that moment but I just can’t find a fair way to express it. I guess most of the people would feel sad for him, and of course it’s sad he can’t see but I think that was a 5% of what I felt. He looked so happy to be there, so confident and so awesome! I felt amazement, simpathy, affect and most of all I felt happy to have the chance to meet him and all the kids and caras.

I’m sure you have received loads of messages from the children and their families telling you how grateful they are but I would like to share with you a few moments that made me see the impact Barretstown makes in their lives. On my second day, some of the children asked me if I got paid for working in Barretstown and they couldn’t understand why I was there if I didn’t get any money. I asked them what they expected from Barretstown and told them I expected the same thing so I didn’t need a paycheck. On our last day we were talking about what they wanted to become when they grew up. One of the kids who, at first, didn’t understand why I was working without getting paid said “I’d like to be either a doctor or a volunteer”. This made me realise the impact we make on this kids. But little do they know they make a bigger impact on us!

I could be writing about all the amazing moments I had with the kids and caras for ages but I’ll just tell you a few more that happened at the airport. As Barretstown is the charity of the year, there are loads of moneyboxes in the airport. I wasn’t a chaperone but I was on the same flight as the kids from Madrid so I helped the chaperones and enjoyed the last hours I would be spending with the kids. Erika, one of the Spanish girls said “If I had 30 €, I would put 10 € in that moneybox so loads of other children could go to Barretstown and enjoy it as much as I have”. Some of the kids took some money from their wallets and put it in one of the moneyboxes. I wanted to share this with you because all the volunteers and full time staff have made this possible and it didn’t seem fair to keep this “thank you” moment at the airport to myself.

I really hope I can go back some time soon. There aren’t enough words to describe what Barretstown has meant to me. I will never thank you enough for letting me be a part of it. Barretstown makes a difference in kids’ lives but also in grown ups’ lives. Thank you!