By Sarah Nelson
As human beings we are capable of so much.
We are capable of love, strength, beauty, building, resilience, inventing, problem solving, and creating.
All bringing different skill sets and perspectives into our communities and workplaces, from personal experience to genetic wiring.
We are made with good to give.
At Minnesota Camp this good shines so brightly and with joyful generosity that is difficult to comprehend.
Adults with a range of diagnoses and challenges come together to celebrate one another, be in community together and empower one another.
It is rare that I have witnessed such unconditional love and joy towards strangers. Where everyone is received with the belief that the other is priceless and a gift to be around.
My responsibility was to facilitate paintings sessions throughout the afternoon. In all the years that MN Camp has existed they have never had a painting session. We bought gallons of house paint in a beautiful array of colors, and a large set of canvases, and set the table. Originally I was expecting to try and offer instruction tailored to everyone’s physical and mental capabilities, but it became quickly apparent that the most beautiful and powerful way to prepare the time was to have colors available and let each individual create what they had on their hearts to create. So with no stipulations, an abundance of color painting after painting started flowing from my corner station. Adults who could hardly hold anything with their hands created beautiful works that reflected the natural motion of their shaking hands, they created vibrant depictions of their home, of their friends, of God, of nature, of the lake we were facing. It was stunning.
They had no inhibitions.
I am so inspired and I know I have been changed because of the works I saw created in that room.
Care givers would sit with their companions and sometimes they would paint gifts for one another, or work on a canvas together. They were so prolific that I was constantly speed walking/running with cloudy paint water and brushes to and from our water source and going through boxes and boxes of canvases every day.
At the end of camp we laid them all flat together on the floor so that all the works that were created could be seen next to each other. It was incredibly moving to see the beauty of the work that had been created.
So often we are told what our limitations are. This population especially, faces the continuous “cant’s” of society. Here they climbed rock walls, they went swimming, they went on boats, they caught fish, and they painted. They painted such moving paintings that I was frequently in tears.
This was a place of freedom. Freedom for me too, where I got to drop my own self imposed limitations. I felt the freedom that I believe gives us all a glimpse of the truest heaven.
People are capable of SO MUCH.
Thank you MN Camp for letting me create with you, be free with you, and celebrate with you and learn from you.
I needed you and your incredible good.