These past few weeks at work have been full of preparing for the summer and figuring out which kids to choose to fill our 40-ish spots for out-of-town middle school camps. Because we're limited in spots, we try to give the opportunity to the kids that have attended our program the longest and most consistently. But two of those kids won't be going to camp this year. Two kids who come to our program everyday. Two kids that never get to leave El Paso. Two kids who won't experience "the best week of my lifetime!" because they don't have "proper papers."
In the meantime, my friend who is from Iowa, but now attending school in California, is trying to figure out if she should apply for camp staff in North Dakota or South Dakota.
Once again, legal status stands in the way of an amazing opportunity for our kids. While for my friend, even though transportation might be tough, she still doesn't have to think twice about working at a camp halfway across the nation because of her (lack of) citizenship status.
Another kid might not be able to go to camp because her parents are not happy with the way she's been behaving at home--being rude and mean. She is mean and disrespectful at our program some days, but I still think a week at camp would be great for her. How do I tell her somewhat close-minded parents about her bad behavior when all she wants to do is get away from home (and I want her out of that potentially destructive place)?
The simplicity of applying and preparing for camp has gotten complicated...for me making phone calls, double-checking forms, and organizing fundraisers. But also for our beloved kids, who are facing obstacles that they shouldn't have to face. Gosh, world, just let them be kids and go to summer camp.