Like most high school football teams, the players at Show Low High School attend a preseason warm-up camp. Theirs is held at a nearby camp called Camp Tatiyee. Here the Show Low team practices football skills with the camp participants. But there is something special about Camp Tatiyee—all of the participants are adults with developmental disabilities.
Two Latter-day Saint team members at Show Low, Josh W. and Rathen R., have discovered true happiness by serving the camp participants.
Josh: When we first went to Camp Tatiyee, we were all a little uncomfortable. As we were introduced, it was amazing to see how happy the participants were. I remember thinking to myself, “How can they be so happy when they have serious disabilities and other challenges?” But they were genuinely happy to see us. We played football, softball, and kickball, and we even arm wrestled with them. I learned pretty quickly that the camp participants have a special purpose in life.
I’m sure that as a missionary, I will find myself in uncomfortable circumstances. This experience has helped prepare me to not fear those situations on my mission when that time comes.
Our football team visits Camp Tatiyee each year as an act of service, but I believe the camp participants are also serving us by their examples. I have learned that if you really want to be happy, then you forget about yourself and serve someone else.
Rathen: Going to Camp Tatiyee gave me the chance to reflect on the many gifts I have been given from my Heavenly Father. I had never really thought about how blessed we truly are in our lives. The men and women at Camp Tatiyee were great examples to me of how to take on the challenges of life and truly love it.
In preparing for my mission, this experience has helped me see what is truly important—to be happy and positive about every opportunity, even in the midst of trials. We can all learn from our trials if we face them with a good attitude and a smile on our face.
Reaching out to anyone can be difficult or uncomfortable, especially in unfamiliar circumstances. But Josh and Rathen saw the men and women at this camp as sons and daughters of God. They learned that service doesn’t just benefit the person being served, but it also benefits the person doing the service.