By Kevin Cook/Poison Waters, PQ Monthly
A note from Poison Waters
In 2001 my life changed forever when I volunteered for the first time at CAP’s Camp for Kids, our local residential week long summer camp for children ages 5-15 whose lives have been affected by HIV/AIDS, then a program of WIAR (Women’s Intercommunity AIDS Resource). Now, 13 years later, we are celebrating our becoming a fully integrated program of Cascade AIDS Project. As part of our celebration, I couldn’t be more excited to bring into the spotlight valued members of our Camp Community, from donors to volunteers, program staff to campers, and their families. All of us have a story to share and the presence Camp has in our lives will forever bind us. Thank you PQ Monthly readers for allowing us to shine this spotlight in Camp.
An interview with Susan Overcast
Name: Susan Overcast
How do you identify: Not sure what this means: female, straight, gay-friendly?
Affiliation with Camp Starlight: Volunteer at CAP’s Camp for Kids as Camp Grandma, volunteer at camp events and fundraisers, donor
How did you first become aware of CAP’s Camp for Kids?: Through friends and Cascade AIDS Project
How many years have you been involved?: Camp staff – 4 years (I think), donor/volunteer – 10 years?
What is your favorite camp experience?: I love seeing the kids pile out of the buses, bringing pizzas to the kids before the ride to camp and meeting families, the talent show, seeing campers that have aged out coming back as counselors-in-training – I can’t pick just one!
One does stand out though: My first year, during the talent show, two of the older girls did a rap about HIV and how it has affected their lives. It was beautiful – but what really got me was that I hadn’t thought about HIV/AIDS throughout that whole week and the reality of what these kids face outside of camp and hearing it from these two girls floored me. They have both come back to work as counselors-in-training at camp, which I think is wonderful!
What are you most looking forward to in Camp’s 15th year?: Seeing joy in kids’ faces, hugs, Stargrams – everything really!
Anything other thoughts you’d like to share?: I’ve seen people change after working at camp – and I certainly did. It’s the laughter of the kids, the sharing of the adults, the beautiful surroundings that work the miracle of change. Getting a hug from a happy child – priceless!
If you won the lottery, of course after donating to CAP’s Camp for Kids, what would you do?: Donate to a few other charities I’m involved in, pay off my bills, travel, buy a house with a pool and maid service!
For more information about CAP’s Camp for Kids, visit cascadeaids.org.