My name is Tewodros (Tedi) Daniel. I am 21 years old, and my life changed the day I came to Camp Addis, the Global Partnership Program run by SeriousFun and Worldwide Orphans Foundation in Ethiopia. That first year, I came to Camp Addis as a camper. Since then, I have been lucky enough to stay involved with Camp Addis every year in many different capacities: Camper, Counselor, Youth Club Coordinator, and now Assistant Camp Director. This is my camp story.
In my experience, camp is a place where a positive change in every participant’s life is guaranteed. The environment at camp is so impactful because there is no limit to what you can do. You can make choices, there are adults that care so much about you, and there are peers who have experienced similar challenges. Children who have been told they are less of a person because of their HIV status and who faced a lifetime of stigma and discrimination in their own societies will walk out from camp believing the opposite.
Hearing their struggles made me stronger. It helped me realize I can overcome any life challenges.
Camp to me is a special place. It is a place where I found my true self. Camp has been a father and mother figure to me. It gave me everything I lost. I remember the first time I went to camp in 2010. I was so young at that time, but I still remember all the songs, activities, my super camper award, and my journal. I will never forget it. I learned so much from camp. I made lifetime friends in many of my peers. Hearing their struggles made me stronger. It also helped me realize I can overcome any life challenges. Besides having had a negative attitude about my health status, I also used to be shy and speaking in front of small groups used to put me in my panic zone. Now, I comfortably facilitate training sessions in front of large groups and make friends easily, all because of my involvement with camp.
Children who have been told they are less of a person because of their HIV status will walk out from camp believing the opposite.
What inspires me to continue to stay involved at camp all these years later is the progressive change I observe in every camper. I want all HIV positive children to be able to get unconditional love as well as a supportive environment, just like how it was for me. Camp Addis is like my home, it is my family, and I have strong ties to the program and the people I met there.