My journey of being a photographer has brought me many experiences so far. I haven't traveled the furthest or photographed the most famous people, but I'm also not trying to do these things. If I had to put into words what my goal is for my business, it would to create images that tell a story of the events and people with whom I'm fortunate enough to be hired by and develop lasting relationships with these same people. While on my pursuit of this goal I met Kelley. Kelley has been a valued client for about a year and within that year my interactions with her, her family and her organization "Sibling Connections" has been extremely meaningful to me.
At the end of August I spent some time with "Camp To Belong", which is an annual camp in the Berkshires organized by Sibling Connections staff. The purpose is to bring brothers and sisters together who have been separated when placed into foster care. The camp provides fun activities that help facilitate bonding and building relationships in a safe and nurturing environment. The staff at Sibling Connections have thought this whole adventure through.... they even have a Birthday store, where the siblings can pick out birthday gifts to one another and celebrate with cards, gifts and cupcakes one evening, something these families don't get to do on their actual birthdays.
All of this is so amazing to me. I grew up with my older brother and I have to say we were and still are very close. My brother is a person that I know understands where I am coming from. We have long standing jokes, and will always "remember that time when..." No matter the distance or time in between phone calls at this stage in our lives he is my brother!
After speaking with Kelley about the camp, I offered my services to capture family photos for these young folks that they will then be able to hold onto for the years to come. A document of the time spent together at camp, when many of these brothers and sisters won't see each other again until next year. This is a very emotional reunion for many of the campers and for the staff.
Here are just a few things the campers had to say during their time on the lake this year...
This was the first week in my life where I didn't have flashbacks.
This is the first time in three years where I was able to spend a week with my siblings.
I haven't cried like this in years.
This is my second family, wait, this is my family.
People here understand me, they understand where I have been.
You can have great friends and they will be there for you and sometimes they won't, but your sibling, they will always be there for you...no matter what.
For me, this was just the kind of project that I want to be apart of. This is an exotic and new experience for me. It's a challenge. It's an honor.
If you would like to know more about the organization or how you too can provide support, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I'll happily connect you.