Story and photos by OneSight volunteer by Kristin Burgdorf
The vision clinic at the Fresh Air Fund camps in Fishkill, NY, is different from any other clinic because we’re at summer camp. Sweaty kids singing songs, playing games, and running around dripping wet from the pool are part of a normal eye exam. To be expected, sometimes the kids get rowdy and patience is tested as we try to make sure each child gets the quality eye care we came to provide.
One camper, Jordan, was part of a particularly energetic bunch of boys that even the camp counselors had a hard time getting to behave. When it was his turn, he explained that his last pair of glasses was broken and that he couldn’t really experience everything at camp without them. Can you imagine, being miles from home, in a wildly different environment, with strangers, and you can’t even see well enough to participate in activities? We all may behave a little differently when faced with that kind of difficulty.
Usually at camp, we wait until the day the kids go home to dispense the glasses, so we make sure they don’t get lost at camp. For Jordan, the need was so great that we made an exception. Jordan was able to pick out his glasses, a really cool pair of blue frames (this kid has style!), and walk through the process step-by-step as they were made on the vision van on the spot. He watched intently, asking questions, and spending time getting to know the team in the lab.
He said his “thank you’s” and we walked outside to look across the valley to the mountain side. Without his glasses on, we asked him to look for the houses on the mountain. Then he put the glasses back on to take another look. After a thoughtful pause, he said “I get it. I’m gonna take really good care of these glasses. I won’t lose them or break them. Thank you!”
We found out later that day that while waiting in the group to see the doctor, he was the rowdiest kid in the bunch and had stirred up some trouble earlier at camp. His demeanor after his experience on the vision van was the complete opposite. Our hope is that an afternoon of feeling special and refocusing his energy made a difference in his day and maybe even his life. We provided more than just a pair of glasses to Jordan that day.
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Note: It is OneSight’s policy to change the names of minors to protect their privacy.