Embracing Challenges: When the Entire Camp is My “Challenge Course”

Molly Mittman is a second year camper from Temple Shalom in Dallas. She is 9 years old going into the 4th grade.


My name is Molly and I am a camper at Greene Family Camp. I was born with Cerebral Palsy (CP). My CP mainly affects my balance because the muscles in my legs get tired easily. Even though I have CP, I am still just a regular camper. I have goals for myself that I want to accomplish by the end of the session. My one-on-one for the beginning of the session is Natalie. She helps me accomplish my goals and gets me involved in activities.

I like to do all the activities just like everyone else. One of my favorite activities is the zoo, because I really like animals. At the GFC zoo, we have a goose that has a misshaped foot and a deformed wing. The farmer we got the goose from did not want to give us the deformed goose, but the zoo keeper was able to get him. The zoo keeper enjoys teaching about being different through animals and people. The zoo also has puppies that I like to play with. They are cute and my favorite one is Bentley. They make me happy and are very loveable.

Another activity I tried was leading song session. The song leaders decided to have karaoke song session one night for the campers who wanted to sing. I was a little nervous before having to sing in front of the whole camp, but knowing I was going to sing with my bunkmate made me feel better. We sang ‘Follow Me to GFC’. I felt happy that I was able to sing with everyone.

One of the hardest things for me to do on camp is walking independently. I am able to practice walking without my crutches or help from an adult in the cabin (7 WHOLE STEPS SO FAR!). Around camp, I use my crutches for balance to get around. I get tired after a while because we have to walk almost everywhere. Some parts of camp are covered in rocks, which makes it even harder to balance. I walk slowly and have help from lots of adults. The leadership team helps me get around to the far places by driving me in a golf cart. It feels comfortable letting them drive me around and gives me a break from walking.molly1

On Thursday, I went to the ropes course with my cabin for Livnot Kehilah (ropes course for the bunk). When I got to the rock wall, I thought the wall was really big; 40 feet is huge! I thought to myself, “This is going to be fun, but it’s a little bit frightening”. I knew that I had a harness so I just did it. I started to climb and had to use a different strategy to help me continue up the wall. My bunkmates helped cheer me on and find where to put my feet. Although it was hard, I managed to get to the top. At the top, I was overjoyed and a little tired. I started screaming with excitement and pride; I never thought I would be able to get to the top. Once I was down, I hugged Natalie, and the other counselors started to cry happy tears. I was so excited the rest of the night that I almost could not sleep. I ran towards people to let them know I did it. I accomplished my major goal for the summer.

I think that it is okay to be different on camp. We all have different things we need, and that does not make us any weaker than anyone else. I am having a blast at camp and think other people should try it out. I am thankful for my parents and sister for all they do, and to the staff for helping me at camp. I have made lots of life-long friends throughout the last two summers at GFC.

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15 Responses to Embracing Challenges: When the Entire Camp is My “Challenge Course”

  1. Charlotte Labens June 26, 2013 at 8:01 pm #

    How beautifully you write, Molly!
    We are soo proud of you!

  2. Uncle Jason June 26, 2013 at 11:14 pm #

    Wow, Molly!!! That was so wonderful to read!
    Thank you for sharing with us. We love you and are so very proud of you!
    Uncle Jason & Aunt Shauna

  3. Sandy Tawil June 26, 2013 at 11:17 pm #

    Congratulations on reaching your goal. Amazing story!

  4. Alison Weiss June 26, 2013 at 11:31 pm #

    Dear Molly,

    You have always had a lot of courage. Ever since I met you at the sailing camp with your sister Rachel and my son Daniel, I have watched you grow from a giggling toddler in a pink wheel chair to a happy young lady who is writing a blog! Just remember Molly, everyone has something they are struggling with; we don’t always have the ability to see what it is, but trust me, we all have obstacles in our lives. I am just so thankful that you found GFC and are having such a great time. Can’t wait to see you at your sister’s Bat Mitzvah! Keep writing about all your adventures at camp.

  5. Jen June 26, 2013 at 11:42 pm #

    Go Molly!!!

  6. kathy June 27, 2013 at 7:15 am #

    Hi Molly,
    Thank you for sharing about your goals and the joy of accomplishing such a HUGE on…way to go!!!

  7. Mom June 27, 2013 at 8:35 am #

    You are an awesome child to have as a daughter! Daddy & I are very proud of you. Keep working hard & having fun!
    Mom & Dad

    BTW – Nicely written. Mrs. Olguin would be very proud.

  8. Susan Justus June 28, 2013 at 5:24 pm #

    WoW Molly,
    Thank you for an such an uplifting message to read at the end of my day – actually not the end, I will be going out to teach beginning sailing tonight because people like you and your mom and dad have done so much to inspire and help me. If so many people at the sailing club hadn’t helped me, I wouldn’t know how to sail. You have a beautiful way of expressing your thoughts and I encourage you to continue to do that. Way to go girl!!!
    My best and can’t wait to hear more,
    Susan Justus

  9. Cameron Larkin June 29, 2013 at 1:01 pm #

    Beautiful. Impressive young lady! GFC is such a wonderful place and community for our children to build this kind of Molly-like confidence and awesome camp experiences.

  10. Zoo keeper June 29, 2013 at 7:14 pm #


  11. Molly (Caitlin Smith) July 1, 2013 at 12:52 pm #

    A note of thanks from Molly:

    Thank you for all your help and support. I appreciate the comments you have posted. I continue to reach my goals and have fun at GFC. Have a great summer!

  12. Aunt Lynne July 2, 2013 at 7:16 pm #

    Loved reading your guest blog Molly! I am so very proud of all you have accomplished. I wish that I could have seen your karaoke performance. I know you did an outstanding job. Great job on the rock climbing wall and reaching your goal. Just think, you will have lots of things to write songs about by the end of the summer!

  13. Wiggers September 8, 2013 at 7:49 am #

    Rather great posting. I merely found your current website plus desired to claim that I truly appreciated looking the blog site discussions. In fact I’m going to be registering to your current feed so i hope you create once more soon!


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