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Why Camp Ramapo?

By Izayah Morgan

Opinions Editor

The question I always asked myself is, “Why am I here?”

Throughout high school, I had many ideas of what I could do. First, it was biology. Then, it moved over to another science - physics. Then, near the end of my senior year, I had a decision to make. Would I leave home, Springfield Massachusetts, and go to Grand Canyon University to study entrepreneurship or come to Framingham State University to study psychology?

Thankfully, I chose the latter.

Transitioning from high school to college was tough, but my first year allowed me to meet some great professors such as Anna Flanagan, Paul Bruno, Charles Sachs, and Robert Johnson. Here is where I meet Dr. Healey (who I will refer to as Bill) in an ethics class. Bill had mentioned camp Ramapo to the whole class and the opportunity it presented. It sounded like a great chance to do something for a greater community.

Hearing that it was a camp for campers on the autism spectrum only further encouraged me to do it. My father was in this field of work and my brother being on the spectrum just reinforced that this was an opportunity I couldn't miss.

The first day I arrived, I was lost. Much like when I first got to college, it was new people, in a new place, and I contemplated if I even belonged there. Also similar to when I first started college, I called my grandmother every day to express my concerns.

Then, something happened, I met amazing people who helped me understand I wasn't alone in this experience of loneliness and existential dread. The training was long, but it was so fun getting to meet everyone!

Then campers arrived and I was able to understand why I was here even more. The silly things I did, wigs I wore, songs I sang, and relationships I built made me realize that I don't just get value from doing well for myself, but having others understand their own value and do well for themselves.

Sure, there were tough times, but like anything in life, it passes and you go back to laughing. This experience made me a happier person and bringing joy not just to the campers but my coworkers was delightful.

The people who run the camp, supervisors, counselors, maintenance and cooking staff are all amazing and it's easy to tell they love what they're doing.

You are going to make mistakes - lord knows I did. However, those are passing moments of growth and you'll just become that much better of a person.

To put in perspective of how important you are here in the world, take a minute and look at Ramapo’s website. Look at the pictures, and see what they're about.

That's what it's about - creating a space where people feel heard and valued.

A space for people to succeed.

Thank you to my co-workers who, despite my failings and successes, treated me the same - with kindness and admiration.

Above all else, remember all behavior is communication!


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