The Campers I’ll Never Have

by Alex Alford

The title is a hard one to read, but the reality behind it tops that. Every summer I have the privilege of working with Camp Jill Scott. I get to meet kids from all different parts of North Philly and help create memories that they will live with for the rest of their lives. I get to learn from them as they learn from me. The only unfortunate thing about the camp is that we have a limit on how many campers we can have every year and that we only get two weeks with them. I have two weeks to plant a seed. 

I can deal with only having two weeks to plant a seed, but what about the campers who won’t make it? I’m not talking about the ones that missed the deadline and will try again next year. I’m talking about the campers who I will never get to meet because their lives were taken from them. Almost every day, there is a name of someone who is under 15 who no longer walks this earth. They become victims due to playing at the wrong place, even though if it is outside of their front door; they become victims because of other things people get involved in. Either way, it doesn’t make sense. It doesn’t make sense that I have to wonder if my campers will come back to me. Or, will they carry around some type of trauma due to the violence in the city

Does taking a child’s life give some type of brownie or cool point? Is there some type of agenda to end bloodlines and generations? I need answers. I need to figure out why these babies are being taken away from their parents, their dreams, and the changes they could have made in this world. Something has to change; something must be done. I don’t want to think about the death of a child, or feel helpless because there is a camper I will never get to watch grow. 

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