We are so lucky to have Aubrey, a long-time camper and now Counselor In Training, write an article for our most recent newsletter. Thank you Aubrey for sharing your story!
I was seven when I learned what HIV was. At that age I didn't know much, but I knew that the society around me didn't accept HIV, so I understood that it was not something to speak of.
My own mother shunned my dad for something he simply couldn't control. He didn't know. He wasn't told. My mother told me that he was bad, gross, and a disappointment. I never listened to a word of the web of lies she told me.
I never spoke of it to others but when 6th grade came around and health class was required, we talked about HIV and other STD's. Every time someone made a comment regarding HIV/AIDS in a bad or joking manner I was upset, offended even.
I never knew how to express my feelings about this sensitive subject until I went to Camp Starlight for the first time. It was there that my brother and I found refuge in the loving arms of everyone there. We learned ways to cope. Ways to understand. For a week we had a safe haven full of people who understood just what we were going through.
Nelson and I have been to Camp Starlight for 5 years now. Each year we have the same magical experience. We've made lifelong friends, and memories that will last an eternity. Camp Starlight can't take away the ugliness of the world but they brighten my world and for one week every year, I get to live in a world of beauty. A world of warm hugs, fun songs, caring friends with shoulders to cry on, and a family to lean on. A family where every single person knows what it’s like to experience the ugly of the world, but we all come together for a week to make our worlds beautiful again.
Camp Starlight changed my life for the better. Without my camp family, I don’t know where I would be.
Thank you Camp Starlight for letting me live in a world free of worry for a week every year.