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 Satonia Rodgers
Name: Satonia Rodgers
How do you identify?: Female
Affiliation with CAP’s Camp for Kids: Past Camper
How did you first become aware of CAP’s Camp for Kids?: I went to Camp the year it started and went the next 7 years.
How many years have you been involved?: Since the beginning
What is your favorite Camp experience?: Ooohh, way too many to choose. CAP’s Camp for Kids gave me the courage to sing on stage — so the talent show was a big thing, wish boats, and the counselors. I have one counselor in particular that changed my life so much.
What are you most looking forward to in Camp’s 15th year?: I am really hoping to be able to be a camp counselor this year. I haven’t been able to in the past and I really want to get involved again.
Anything other thoughts you’d like to share?: Don’t underestimate what a week at Camp will do for a child. It changed my life in more ways than I can count, and it gave me a chance to be a kid, and to find out I wasn’t the only kid whose parent was sick all the time. And it wasn’t only about HIV/AIDS — I had gone into foster care and went to camp [and] a counselor who I had had for the past 3 years saw that something was up with me and she was there to talk and share her own experience in foster care. She saved my life by that conversation.
If you won the lottery, of course after donating to CAP’s Camp for Kids, what would you do?: I would go around to high schools and colleges in the country and share my story with living with a parent with HIV/AIDS and try and help bring awareness and try and help the stigma of HIV/AIDS. I would also make care packages for DHS workers to give to children going into foster care (and pay off all college loans and the rest of my college fees — it’s a big lottery, right?).
For more information about CAP’s Camp for Kids, visit cascadeaids.org.