Camp Promise

Noel Leifer

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NoEl Leifer
Unit leader, camp promise-Rockies

When was your first year at Camp Promise?
My first year at Camp Promise was 2015. This was also my first experience at a sleep-away camp, so I definitely understand the apprehension of any first-time Campers...but I can also guarantee that homesickness is very short-lived thanks to the wonderful community of Campers and Staff, as well as the multitude of hilarious and surprising adventures and activities. 

Why do you keep coming back to camp?
The exceptional community of campers, counselors, and staff at Camp Promise motivates me to return to Camp each year. I have never known such a genuinely caring, supportive, and enjoyable group of people, and I immensely value and appreciate my time with this community. The greatest aspect of Camp Promise in my opinion is the opportunity it provides for the Campers to cast away many of the restrictions they are forced to cope with in daily life. If you take a step back and just observe the interactions that take place during Camp, joy supersedes all else.  There is no sense of impediment or loss;  friendship, humor, and kindness replace these barriers entirely. Being able to facilitate and participate in this magical experience is one of the most profound gifts in my life, and the reason I will always return to Camp Promise. 

What's your favorite camp theme day and why?
Viking Day. Everyone looks fabulous and very fierce in their costumes! 

What's your favorite camp memory?
As a counselor in the Green Cabin (Campers under 10) some of the times that I value most are when all the little guys are ready for bed and we huddle up in the cabin to read a story. After a full day of extreme goofiness and tons of activity, it can be challenging to get everyone settled down in one place. But once everyone is cozy in their bunks, snuggled in with their blankets from home and their favorite trinkets from the day, I begin reading a story like Magic Treehouse or Alvin and the Chipmunks out loud to them. We rarely get more than a paragraph into the book before one of the boys interjects with a silly voice or a question. Sometimes their commentary dwindles enough to allow us to make it through a few chapters, but other times the boys end up starting these incredible conversations amongst themselves that have nothing to do with the book. One night, one of the boys asked another boy why he needed to use a wheelchair while all of the other boys were still able to use scooters and were able to walk. This led to a discussion about the wheelchairs they were expecting to use in the future, and how much they liked their electric scooters and wheelchair. There was no judgement or surprise in their discussion - it was just a sincere, open conversation among young children accustomed to a life that is unimaginable to most people. This unscheduled time in the cabins before bed allowed the boys to discuss crucial aspects of their lives with each other in a way that would not be possible in any other setting. I hope that experiences such as these late night conversations help these amazing children grow up realizing how supported and capable they really are. 

If we did a talent show right now, what would your talent be?
I can hermetically seal my nose with my upper lip. It was a skill I learned as a baby, and to this day it is actually the only way that I am able to swim without inhaling a ton of water! Check it out >

What’s your day job?
Being a student is my most time-consuming job at the moment. I'm majoring in Molecular Biology and International Studies, and will be graduating next winter. I also work at Children's Hospital Colorado as a research intern in the Sie Center for Down Syndrome.