Even though this year was mentally and physically draining, I had some of the most amazing experiences that I would not have been able to have at any other internship. As an intern at Candlelight Ranch, I worked many hours on the zip line sending and receiving children and adults from all different backgrounds. I discovered that I could be very encouraging when someone was afraid and I was then able to help them feel comfortable about going. I would usually try to refer back to their everyday life and remind them that they are in control of their decision, and even if they are nervous, they can conquer tasks they never knew were possible. One particular man remained in my thoughts at the end of summer. He was nonverbal, in a wheelchair and low functioning. It took seven staff members to help him complete the zip but we were able to do it. I saw him zipping down with eyes as wide as can be and with the biggest smile I’ve ever seen. His mother and sister were so happy to be able to see him experience this special moment. It was then that I realized that every hot, long, and tiring day was worth it to every single child that took a step on this ranch. This was more than I could ask for from any job, camp or internship. Ironically, we run this camp with the goal of helping the children gain knowledge, confidence and awareness, yet I was the one learning from them throughout the summer. I could not be more grateful for the children who have stepped foot into my life and helped me learn such valuable lessons.
Kamryn Kent, Student Intern from Texas State University – August 2017