By Anna Chowattanakul, Summer Intern in Flemingdon Park
As I sit at my computer, thinking about all the memories that I had at Sonshine Day Camp, I say can with confidence that this internship has been one of the most rewarding experiences. Unfortunately, this is the last week of camp and the thought of saying good-bye to the kids has been something that I am trying to avoid; I have grown so fond of them. Just like planting a tree, the more you spend time watering and watching it grow, the more you care about it. Throughout camp, I was happy to watch the kids grow and to see the positive impact that this camp had on both the kids and myself.
I remember the first day before camp started, I felt a little bit sick in my stomach. I messaged my close friends saying, “I’m meeting the kids tomorrow. I’m so nervous.” Although I had a chance to see some kids from the after school program and went through several trainings and workshops, I still had uncertainties about what was going to happen. My main concern was, “How am I going to lead the kids? I am a soft-spoken person? What if they don’t listen to me?” As I thought about these things, my worries became my reality during the first few weeks of camp. Julianna and I were in charge of the grade 1’s and 2’s small group. Compared to the rest of the groups, our group is probably one of most chaotic. During every class, someone was always crying, hurting or running around the classroom. It was really disruptive because everyone was distracted by his or her own needs. Some children had to leave the room every time because they couldn’t stay focused in class.
Through this experience, I have learned that every child is special and unique. There are moments where children can be really adorable and another moment where you do not want to deal with them. Sometimes, I felt that I focused too much on my work; always wanting everything to go perfectly and smoothly. But God has taught me to be much more flexible, to embrace the unexpected and to show grace to the kids. I learned that maybe the kids do not need another person to get frustrated with them when something goes wrong. Maybe they don’t need another person to tell them what to do. Maybe they just need someone who can love and understand them when the things around them are not going right.
During camp, the wonderful Outreach Workers have shown me a lot of encouragement. They guided me through many different ways that I could use in handling difficult situations. After getting to know the kids, and learning more about them, I began to understand what unconditional love is. I have learned to care for the kids that were the most troublesome. I have learned to love the kids that needed the most love. This experience reminded me of how God still loved us even when we sin against him. Not to mention that He even sent his only Son to die for our sins. I am very grateful to have experienced so much growth with TCM this summer. I pray that God will continue to reveal himself to the kids and guide them in their daily lives once camp is over.
This is Anna’s first year interning with TCM at Flemingdon Park. She has recently graduated from the Bachelor of Music Education. She enjoys sharing her skills with the kids while building meaningful relationships with them. Anna lives in the Flemingdon Park neighbourhood and she is happy to be able to give back to her community.