Small Gesture, Great Meaning


For their 6th summer, Champions Special Ministries have literally been rolling out the red carpet for their campers. This organization provides summer camps for individuals with special needs.  Campers are paired with a coach for the whole week. Their coach is with them all day, each day making sure they have the best possible camp experience.

My daughter Rachel and her friend Ariel have been coach and camper together now for 5 years.  They were also friends in high school where Rachel worked as a peer tutor.  Their friendship is special.  And though Ariel may not express herself the same way Rachel does, their bond is unmistakable.

Today I stopped by the camp for a quick visit.  I saw these two sweet friends sitting at the back of the room, participating in whatever ways Ariel found comfortable.  Rachel got up so I could sit down and talk to Ariel.  She wasn’t too sure about Rachel moving but looked me directly in the eyes as I greeted her and decided it was ok.  Communication is challenging for Ariel but you can see her mind actively working, desiring to respond.

I sat down in the chair to her left, turning towards her.  As I was talking about how good it was to see her at camp with Rachel, she gently reached for my left arm, pulling my hand around to her shoulder.  I wrapped my other arm around her back and just hugged her for several minutes.

She was soon ready for Rachel to retake her seat. Back to the comfortable friendship they share.  For a few brief moments, Ariel allowed me to also be part of her space.  That small gesture-moving my hand to her shoulder-had enormous meaning.

I’m so glad I didn’t miss it.

Find out more about Champions at


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