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Jul7ThuHow a Salvation Army camp helped a young leader deal with grief. July 7, 2016 by Linda Leigh
The summer of 2015 was life-altering for 18-year-old Cassie Barrett. While working at camp, she learned of her mother's passing. “Mom's death was so hard and upsetting,” says Cassie. “She'd had cancer before and got better. She was only 44.”
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Cassie's camping experiences began at the age of 10 when she attended a Salvation Army music camp. “I was from a small town and meeting other kids my age was huge,” says Cassie. “And there was a pool that was the biggest I'd ever seen,” she smiles.
Year after year, Cassie counted down the days until the next camp. From singing and laughing to learning new skills that pushed her out of her comfort zone and meeting life-long friends, she loved everything about camp.
“Camp boosted my self-confidence and helped develop my leadership skills and the ability to deal with difficult situations,” says Cassie. “And it was at camp that I really learned to trust in God.”
The days and weeks following her mom's death were emotional and devastating. Cassie eventually returned to her duties at camp―and to her supportive family of friends.
“One friend at camp had been through the same heartbreak I had,” says Cassie. “I wasn't alone in my grief, and that helped me better handle the tough days. And returning to camp meant that life wasn't over and there were still things to look forward to.”
Today, Cassie is studying to become a radiation therapist, and this summer is mentoring staff at The Salvation Army's adventure camp in Huntsville, Ont.
“Camp has given me unforgettable experiences and memories,” says Cassie. “Every year, I look forward to helping others with their personal development and growth. I want to help make their camping experience as fun and rewarding as mine has been.
“Above all, the focus of God's love at camp helped me to realize that God didn't forget my family and he will continue to be with us.”