I wanted to tell you all a little bit about our daughter Destinie before I go on to tell you about her experiences at her home away from home and her Camp family. Destinie was diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis when she was 3 years old. Each year she would require at least 2 “Tune Ups” a year, sometimes more. So she spent most of her time around grown-ups either her parents, Nurses, Doctors, Repertory team, etc. Destinie was a very beautiful, bright, caring, compassionate, thoughtful, and loving person, who always put others before herself. She was a very tender hearted person who always wanted to work with children with special needs and this love came from her experience at Genesee Valley Rotary Camp.
When she was 8 years old we heard of a camp through her pediatrician- Dr. Joan Flender- about Genesee Valley Rotary Camp (GVRC), a camp for kids with special needs. When we applied we had no idea what kind of impact this camp would have on our Baby Gurl.
She was accepted that year and we were on our way to the camp in Pike, NY. She was so scared and nervous about being away from home for a whole week and so very excited too. When we arrived at camp she was greeted by so many loving and caring people. This is where she met Nurse Jan Green, the camp mom in her camp family. She just feel in love with her from the get go. Destinie then proceeded out to be greeted by Mr. Howie, The camp dad, who would take her picture in front of the camp theme banner. Every year would be a different theme. He became her big teddy bear and friend. She would then go and be greeted by her counselors for the year; here she met her longtime counselors Ms. Jamie and Ms. Jill. They were her big sisters throughout her camp experience and beyond. These two sisters would go up through the ranks with Ms. Destinie. She also met ‘Lil’ Mr. Howie, who became her Big brother and 4-wheeler buddy. She also met “crazy” Mr. Nick who was another big brother and dance partner at the end of the week dance, a dance that all the kids all looked forward to. The first year at camp she was tent mates with Megan Daly, who became her best and longtime friend. She met so many people that she considered her family and would talk about so very much all throughout the year. Then camp would be arriving again and she would get so excited about seeing them all again and finding out what that year’s theme was going to be.
She graduated from camp last year when she turned 21 and was looking forward to becoming a camp counselor herself, she just loved this camp so very much and considered everyone there her family away from home. She made so many longtime friends that would go out of their way to do anything they could to keep her spirits lifted. One experience, that was outside the camp experience, which meant so very much to her, was when a few of the counselors/friends came to her graduation party after high school to visit around the campfire. Another experience that she has had with some of the camp family is them visiting her at the hospital to make the stay a little easier and brighter.
She would come home with so many stories of camp, and just recently she was so excited about a special couple and their announcement at camp, these two people were close to her heart and she was so excited for them. This is a camp that becomes a family, a family that loves and cares for everyone no matter what their handicap or needs are. This is a camp with unconditional love.
I would like to take this opportunity to tell everyone in the camp family how much they are appreciated and loved for all that they have done to make our Baby Gurl and her sisters experience at camp so remember able and loving. Also for filling their memory banks with such great moments and stories that will live on forever in their hearts. We love you all.
Heather & Jamie Quick