International Women’s Day 2024

Happy International Women’s Day! Join us in celebrating all the fantastic women at Over The Wall who help make camp happen by meeting one of our dedicated volunteers, Chloe! 

chloe and volunteer at camp

Meet Chloe

Chloe is one of our amazing residential volunteers. She volunteers as a camp teammate, but often volunteers as team leader too. Chloe has been volunteering at our camps across the country for nearly six years — we really appreciate Chloe’s continued support and dedication. Read more about Chloe’s camp experience below! 

My experience

I work in a school in the Reception class and have worked with children for as long as I have been working. 

I was volunteering at Great Ormond Street Hospital as part of their weekend club and a fellow volunteer had just been to an Over The Wall camp and suggested I look it up. I had been wanting to do a camp experience and had been looking at camps in the US but the timings didn’t work out. A weeklong camp during the summer with Over The Wall sounded perfect.  

I love volunteering at Great Ormond Street but you often see the children at their most poorly here. I really like the idea of volunteering somewhere where I could help these children get to be kids again and experience things they may not get to without Over The Wall. It keeps me coming back seeing the children try things they never thought possible because of their health challenge or position as a carer. 

Learning something new

I have learnt that there is always a way to adapt an activity so it can suit all types of ages and abilities. This is something that definitely helps when working with young children in my day job. 

I also learnt I can do things I didn’t think I was capable of! When I started camp I wasn’t sure about it because it was all new and there was lots of information to take in. Now I often attend camp as a team leader, something I could never have imagined myself doing when I first started.

international women's day

Favourite memories

At one of my first camps, I was with a team of 8-10 year old boys and went in with all the expectations of a loud week with very little sleep, yet we woke up on the first morning and all was quiet. When we went to check on the campers, we found them all in one room building Lego. They told us they didn’t want to wake us up so they had been chatting about what it was like to have a sibling with a Health Challenge whilst they played together. I think this always sticks with me because these children had only known each other for 24 hours and yet they had built a bond strong enough for them to open up to each other. 

Another of my favourite memories shows just how strong a bond the campers can build with the volunteers in a week. We had a camper who had to have daily injections and when he came to camp he was quite worried about this as he’d never had anyone other than his mum administer these for him. During the week he talked about maybe trying to do them himself in a few years. On the very last evening he asked if I would come and wait outside whilst he had his medication. Next thing I know he comes running out declaring he had done it all himself! He went off to share this with all the volunteers in our team as he was so proud of doing something that only a few days ago he’d thought would take him years to do.

If I could add anything to camp, I would add a little window into it so everyone could see what it’s like. I’ve heard it said many times and it is definitely true -- until you’ve experienced camp you can’t really understand it, no matter how much you're told about it.

Chloe at camp

Chloe's advice

I would tell my younger self to follow your own path, everything happens when it is supposed to so don’t rush it.

For girls coming to camp, throw yourself into everything and embrace the camp spirit, put on some facepaint even if it ruins your makeup, you will only regret the things you didn’t do. 

For volunteers, trust your decision to apply to volunteer at camp. When you first arrive it may feel overwhelming, but there is a magic about camp that turns a group of strangers into a family for a week. I have made some of my very best friends at camp and that’s says something considering we often only see each other for a week a few times a year. Oh, and bring a lot of face wipes, there is no escaping the facepaint!

international women's day

Making a difference

The impact of camp is something that is so hard to put into words and also something that goes so far beyond the week at camp for both the campers and volunteers. During the week you will see a growth in confidence, but having seen campers return year on year I have seen that a lot of the changes happen after that week at camp. The messages we see from parents and campers when we see them again at another camp shows how immeasurable the impact really is. 

Camp has made me aware that it is not always the big things that have an impact on people and just because you don’t see the effect of something straight away, it doesn’t mean that you’ve not made a big impact on someone that they will remember for a long time. 

If you’ve been inspired to make an impact like Chloe has, get in touch with us to learn more about volunteering at our residential camps this summer!