"No one can do anything about the quantity of anyone's life, we all can do something about the quality."
-Camp Quality's motto
Camp Quality New Jersey is one of the most amazing and inspiring places on Earth (That I've ever personally had the privilege of attending), and you've probably never heard of this outstanding international volunteer organization, but that changes today!
So, what is Camp Quailty anyway?
Camp Quailty is a non-profit organization that reaches out to children dealing with a life-threatening condition or have had one at any given point during their lifetime. Campers are aged 5-17 and are individually paired with adult companions to experience a week-long sleep-away camp that encourages campers to build life skills, experience an atmosphere full of positivity fun, creates an amazing networking community for campers and families, and there are arts and crafts; SO MANY ARTS AND CRAFTS!!! Last week I returned home from my 7th year attending CQNJ, and every year we find more and more amazing people who becomes part of close tight-knite caring community.
I was 16 years old the first time attending camp- as a camper. It had been a difficult year for me. Recently after moving in to a new town, I was diagnosed with ALL (Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia), a blood cancer. During the first year of treatments, I was almost shut off from the world, isolated in a sterile environment. With no close ties to the community and being homeschool, I focused my energy towards photography as an outlet. Any chance I could, I'd pick up my camera and shoot.
At the urging my nurses and parents, I was told I needed to come a sleep-away camp, called Camp Quality. I didn't want to go. Because of the age gap I was in, spending a majority of my time in pediatrics, I was constantly bombarded with Barney, Mickey Mouse characters, SpongeBob, Disney Princesses, and other amazing things for your average five year old. With my experiences, I thought this was how the camp was going to be run, like an elementary school. I thought I was going to be the only one there my own age, with different interests than the other campers… I was so wrong.
My first two days of camp, you could see me sitting somewhere in the corner, pouting, being anti-social. By the end of the week I had made so many countless friends, some of whom I've lost, and other's I share a strong bond with. I was a camper at CQNJ for two years, and I was brought back the next year by the director to assist in doing the photography for the camp, and I've been coming back every year since.
Camp Quality surely lives up to its name in unimaginable quantities. A team of amazing people work year round for this great cause, I would love to get the word out there about this great organization.
Below are photos from my years spent with CQNJ and the amazing people who make it what it is. If you have any questions about camp, either donating or to volunteer, please email me on my contact page or visit CQNJ's website by clicking the banner photo of the lake above.