by Ben Szakun

Getting to be part of Hearts of Gold and going to Camp Zajac with them was a huge honour.

I met teenagers from all over B.C. with whom I share a unique connection. Being able to help them through their journey as they help me through mine made camp more than just a getaway.

It’s a chance to be with people that I call my second family.

Highlights included some absolutely amazing activities. I was able to face my fear of heights and go on the high ropes. I will never forget Kristi letting the pet llama out and watching it almost run away while I was sitting in Bridget’s wheelchair, which I borrowed because I didn’t want to walk.

I loved throwing water balloons and pudding into everyone’s faces at the carnival. Cole was able to get his revenge on me this year, but I’ll be back with more pranks and take my revenge next year!

It’s hard to believe how quickly a weekend can go by when you are at camp. One moment I was picking out which bed I would be sleeping on and the next, I was getting ready to go home.

I couldn’t have asked for better volunteers and staff who made the camp easily the best one I have ever been to.

I am so thankful to have this group of friends that I have known for so long. Being able to spend a day with them is truly a blessing and I appreciate every moment I have with them.

Many of our friends will be transitioning out of Hearts of Gold and moving on to the next stage of their lives. It will be hard not to see them at events even though I am beyond grateful to see them all grow up to be the amazing people they are today. Having knowing them all these years, I can truly say they have hearts of gold.

We all came even closer together this year when we lost our friend Cody. He was a fun-loving kid who could brighten anyone’s day within seconds.

He will always be with us. As a symbol of this, and our time together at Camp Zajac with him, we all wrote messages on a rock and placed it in the garden together to show how much we care about and love Cody.

These memories and bonds will be with me for the rest of my life. Camp Zajac has always been and always will be a place where a kid can be a kid. ♥

Ben and Hailey (left) and Cody’s Memory Rock (right).

“My Time at Camp” is from our summer 2018 newsletter, Heart Matters. See our Newsletters page for more stories and to subscribe.