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Mica Davis and Adam Tessler are the married, volunteer dream team that can be found at the Clubhouse on any given program day. Their dedication to our mission always goes above and beyond. One of their favorite parts about Kate’s Club is the magic that they get to be a part of twice a year at Camp Good Mourning.
How long have you both been involved with Camp Good Mourning? And what inspires you to come back year after year?
Mica: This year is the 4th year we’ve done Camp Good Mourning. When we started, there was only one camp a year so seeing CGM grow into what it has become – having a need for 2 camps is pretty bittersweet.
The reason camp is the first thing on my calendar at the beginning of each new year is the 5 year old boys. This is the 1st time some of them have ever been away from home. They are often scared and yet so brave. Getting to watch them face and conquer their fears while mastering new challenges is pretty awesome! I learn so much more from them then I could ever teach them.
Adam: We have been involved for 5 years at Kate’s Club and come to camp every time it’s offered. I suppose that makes around 8 camps for both of us, give or take. Couple things keep me coming back. One, it’s the chance to work with the kids and see them grow emotionally and in life. Sometimes we can’t fathom the impact we make but you can see it year over year, it’s truly incredible.
The second reason is volunteering with Mica. It gives us achance to do something together but have wildly unique experiences. She workswith the youngest kids and I work with the oldest. We talk for a week aftereach camp and our experiences. Personally, it gives me a chance to trulyappreciate her excellence as a volunteer and human being.
What is your favorite moment/thing about camp?
Mica: It’s truly the little moments that make CGM special. Like when I get to play tooth fairy or when the last thing you see before going to sleep is a sweet face holding onto a glow stick, a teddy bear and seeing a luminary bag of his dad radiating light on his face. It’s the laughter and the tears. It’s the bedtime stories, s’mores past bedtime, and hearing their favorite camp memories. It’s also tearing up during the luminary walk and feeling a sweet little hand that tells you “it’s okay”. It’s seeing them move up the next year and having the potential to be kind, good leaders that you knew they were all along. It’s watching them help at dinner and cleanup, having them pick flowers and place them beside your bed. It’s the dancing at mealtime, it’s watching their fasces light up when saying “That’s my daddy” while doing the luminary bags, but most of all it’s the hugs.
In general, theluminary walk is my favorite moment of camp. Telling other people is a bit liketrying to explain a beautiful place you have been by using words instead ofwitnessing it yourself. Seeing the littles and the teens comfort each other ispretty incredible. This is also something that just happens organically. Myboys might be walking by and notice a teen sobbing and go to give them a hug.These pure moments are the ones that not only inspire me but keep me comingback.
Adam: My favorite thing about camp is the support. Watching the oldest boys get out of their own way to support each other, the oldest girls and the youngest kids is the magic. If we just work to help them express and live in their empathy we’ve done it all. Watching them hug each other when they need it most after the luminary walk or teach each other lessons they’ve learned while in a cabin chat is the greatness of Kate’s Club.
Explain why you do camp together and how it impacts your life.
Mica: In addition to everything else, I witnessed Adam step up and possibly overcome a fear of his own without giving it as second thought. When one of the buddies, Sydney, got sick and had to leave camp, Adam stepped in to help with Syd’s girls. Seeing him with the 7 year old girls and loving every minute of it was pretty amazing. It warmed my heart.
Adam: I think I touched on this earlier but I can’t say it enough — watching Mica in her truest excellence is one of the coolest things in my life. My heart explodes with love for her and the world in that finite moment. It’s like reading a love letter she writes each and every minute for the world to be a better version of itself. I don’t know a better way to describe it.
The theme is “magic” this year. How have you see the “magic” of camp impact a member/members?
Mica: The magic theme this year symbolizes what Kate’s Club is for so many, including us… magic. The magic I see most is when my 5 year old boys turn 10 -11 years old and witnessing the true leaders and kind souls they’ve become. It’s pretty incredible to think a kid might start camp with me and finish camp with Adam, it’s all I could ever want!
Adam: There are so many unique moments that embody magic. One that is a good summation but different than common belief is watching two specific campers interact after the luminary walk: Nick Martin, who’s father died less than a year ago, in his acute grief, as that moment causes, found love in a moment to help Raziel, who is grieving his mother, who died when he was 5, and his grandmother, who died when he was 14. I choose this moment because most of us would think Raziel, whose loss was less recent, would be consoling Nick. However, Nick realized that Raziel pulls away to grieve in private and did not want him to be alone in his grief. It takes so much love from Nick in that moment to breathe deep and share his grief with Raziel. Love is the key to it all. Grief is love. It’s why it affects us all so differently and deeply.
Kate's Club accepts U.S. Surgeon General's highest civilian honor for mental health work