Oliver’s Pandemic Abroad

Posted on the 6th July 2020

Recently on our blog, we’ve been highlighting the stories of Lattitude volunteers who have remained abroad during this COVID-19 period and have given the gift of valuable service as international volunteers. Here is a delightful letter written to us by our host organization, Camp Cadicasu, and outdoor camp in the Kananaskis region of Alberta, Canada. You can tell from reading this, just how supportive and caring these hosts are to volunteers, giving them a home and family away from home. But it also demonstrates how much resilience, strength, and personal growth our volunteers demonstrate while overseas. We hope you enjoy reading their ode to Ollie!

Open-Minded
Listener
Intelligent
Visionary
Educated
Really likes cookies 🙂

As a Camp Director, you always wonder if the speed of the paperwork being emailed in will reflect the way they are as humans when they arrive at camp. Well, Ollie was one that required no “nudge” or “friendly reminder” email and it showed from the second we met. A massive smile on his face and clear love for life radiated off of him when we had a happy hug introduction here at Camp Cadicasu. I knew right then how lucky we were to have him.

With barely even being unpacked, the world was overwhelmed by COVID-19 and Ollie was faced with a very difficult decision…go back home to England or tough it out with 2 Canadian boys, “social distancing”, in the middle of nowhere Alberta, surrounded by snow, moose, deer, dirt roads and pine trees. Let’s just say, here we are today and we are so grateful that he chose to stay and ride out this unfathomable experience with us here at camp.

It’s very clear that Ollie is a social, caring and curious human and thrives on learning new things and meeting new people. So, the fact clearly weighed on him that he will not be meeting many new people as the whole world was in lockdown, but that didn’t stop him from being one of the most positive and engaging humans I’ve ever met and work alongside. Like myself, Ollie was “inexperienced” when it came to the manual labour and building things out of wood side of summer camp but that only sparked his curiosity and his willingness to learn and grow. From building our new shelves in our famous Prop Room, to building a picnic table from scratch for our Staff Balcony for staff to now enjoy for many years to come, to becoming a very stereotypical Canadian and chopping wood like a true lumberjack, Ollie has experienced many firsts here at Camp Cadicasu and has excelled!

The highlight of my time spent with Ollie will always be our mornings before the day got started where he, Logan (fellow Camp Director and wood chopping/ building/ sanding extraordinaire) and I would have coffee (Ollie would have cereal since he hasn’t been cursed by the caffeine demons quite yet) and we would discuss the day ahead, world crises’, social change, economics, consciousness, and of course our families. The way Ollie speaks about the world, his family, friends and loved ones is unlike any that I’ve seen of an 18 year old and it truly makes me feel very optimistic about our future generation of change makers on this planet. It’s very clear that Ollie will be leading a charge somewhere of shifting this planet in the direction it needs to go with a gigantic smile on his face impacting all that are lucky enough to join him on his journey. From the bottom of my heart, thank you Oliver for sticking it out here at Camp Cadicasu and bringing light into a very dark world situation, our door is always and forever open to you.

Another HUGE thank you to Lattitude Global Volunteering for introducing us to an amazing young man and for offering the program for young people to travel, experience, play and grow around the world!

Jeff Kish
Camp Director (Operations)
Camp Cadicasu

Learn More About Our Canada Programme

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