Calling all you 15-23 year olds from the US and Canada: the application for the 2016 Huntington’s Disease Youth Camp is now out! HDYO(Huntington’s Disease Youth Organization) has posted the link to apply all over Facebook!
Now, when I saw the application out last year I was thinking about a lot. I wanted to go but yet I was not sure if I wanted to put myself out there. I knew I wanted to meet people that dealt with HD but my shy personality made me second guess applying for this camp. Even when I did apply, part of me was like maybe I won’t be chosen and then I don’t have to go and share all this stuff about my life and how it has affected me. Well, I was chosen. First, I was hit with the thought of “oh boy, now I have to meet 50 new people and speak out about myself.” (Which I normally don’t like doing.) But then I was hit with the thought of, “This is what I always wanted, I am so excited!” That is when I started counting down the days until camp and I was just filled with happiness.
If you are anything like I was, and nervous to apply, I say push yourself to do it! Initially it may be scary when you know that you have to meet a ton of new people and talk about the hardest part of your life. But TRUST ME, it is a life changing experience. I have never felt such strong emotions toward a camp or group of people in my life. This camp brings you closer to people who really, honestly, and seriously GET IT! They understand. From this camp you will make life-long friends and that is the truth. From this camp you will meet people with the same stuggle, the same fears, the same outlook on life. From this camp you will find yourself. That was what I left camp with. A support system stronger than anything and a new found piece of myself. I felt so much better after camp. It honestly felt like one door closed and another door opened.
Besides the friendships and the finding yourself, you truly do learn so much about HD. Maybe you do your research everyday like I do and you feel like you know just about everything, well at camp you learn so much about HD, caregiving, teamwork, relationships, grieving. Some conversations may scare you and some stories may shock you but one of the best pieces of advice I can give you is SPEAK UP. I am super shy but I spoke so much because I wanted people to learn from my experience. Don’t lay low, speak out and participate, you’ll be so happy you did!
Basically, FILL OUT THAT APPLICATION!!! And if you are chosen, BE PROUD AND EXCITED! And maybe I will see you there 🙂