CLARK — Students and graduates of Mother Seton Regional High School in Clark have volunteered a week of their time at Camp Fatima of New Jersey and they have been doing this for 18 years. Each summer approximately 30 students and alumnae from Mother Seton Regional have experienced the “Fatimagic!” in one of two week-long overnight sessions for campers ages 5 through 19.
Students from Mother Seton have served on many camp staffs and continue to return to camp year after year to be part of this incredible experience where staff members come away with far more than anything they could have ever expected! Many have served 10, 15 or 18 years. Fatima is a magical place; each summer a different theme is chosen. This summer during the first week Scooby-Doo, 60 campers, 9 adult campers and staff traveled around the world! Each camper had his or her own passport and enjoyed endless hours of fun!
Sister Jacquelyn Balasia, assistant principal and an alumna of the school, has volunteered for the past 18 summers and served on the Board of Directors for 10 years. “When I see the love and care given to our campers, I am truly touched and blessed to be a part of this magic. The campers have such a wonderful week of fun in the sun, in arts and crafts and in hosts of other activities. To see the joy on the faces of the campers touches the hearts of all involved. I am so proud of our Mother Seton volunteers and each year I continue to encourage more girls to give this week of service.”
Many Mother Seton Regional alumnae have gone on to major in special education. According to Justine Enriquez ’12 of Iselin, a first time volunteer, “Camp Fatima cannot be explained; it must be experienced. I loved it and want to go back for years to come. It is such a good feeling knowing you are doing your job and seeing campers having the time of their lives!”
Kaity Cruz’12 of Bloomfield, another volunteer, shared that “many volunteers go home in tears because it is so powerful. There is nowhere else where the campers can be as free to be who they are. My favorite part was after each meal when everyone sings camp songs and all the campers are so happy.”
Camp Fatima is New Jersey’s only all-volunteer camp for children with developmental disabilities. The program is free to campers. Each camper is assigned his or her own counselor who provides 24 hour a day individualized care, with the help of a team of registered nurses, lifeguards, counselor support and administrators, as well kitchen, arts and crafts, sense room and activities staffs. All work together to provide a very supportive atmosphere for both the campers and the volunteers. For more information on Camp Fatima, visit campfatimanj.org; volunteers need to be at least 16 years old.
Part of the kitchen staff who serve 3 meals a day to 240 people many with special diets: Angela Parente, ’10, Justine Enriquez, ’12, Tatiana Fech, ’09, Kaity Cruz, ’12 (Photo courtesy of Mother Seton Regional High School)
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