What Inspires Me

Camp Outreach

In August 2006 I drove to Clewiston, Fla., with my best friends from my church's youth group. Little did I know I was on my way to the week that changed my life.

Volunteering at Camp Outreach, a faith-based, week-long, sleep-away camp for underprivileged children, was most certainly difficult at times. The girls in my cabin had been through some tough things that I could not even imagine, and hearing them speak of their troubles as eight- and nine-year-olds was challenging. These challenging moments, though, taught me a great lesson: how to love through all the toughness.

This is a picture of a camper, Tony, and me at Camp Outreach. Even though he had grown up in a rough household, he still had an amazing positive attitude about life. At that time, he was only nine years old. He taught me to carry the same outlook with me in my life, which often gets me through the toughest days.

My faith has always been the number-one inspiration of my life, and my mother has served as a close second. She's an elementary educator to children with learning disabilities, and growing up I distinctly remember her coming home exhausted every day. She continues to wake up at 5 a.m. to go teach them, however, because she loves them.

"Do small things with great love." - Leigh Ann Tuohy