Since the day my child was born, 19 years ago, I have cared for her, nurtured her and fought for her.

On October 12, 2014 I took her to her first 2 week long camp at Camp Summitt

This particular week of camp is called CampPower. It allows Dawn to take on a responsibility at the camp so they can aid her in learning to speak up for herself, ask for what she needs and to do so many other things on her own, to build up her power. They help her establish goals that when achieved gives her the self-esteem she needs to continue her growth. After all, isn’t self-esteem built by doing esteem able things?

Dawn aspires to be a Mayor after her time spent as a police officer, of course. She has a huge heart and wants to be able to help the homeless of our city. She wants to get married, adopt a child or two and live on a ranch with horses, dogs and a host of other critters.

When we arrived she wasn’t as quick to answer the counselors questions but after she understood that I would stand back and allow her to take charge she opened up and participated. She made her own bunk and unpacked her toiletries. I’ve never felt so unnecessary in all my days.

Then, she looked to me and with the most cautious of smiles she said, “Bye mom.”

I kissed her and said goodbye.

When I walked out of the cabin and to my car, I was unable to hold back the tears. My little girl has already accomplished so much more than anyone thought she would. And, now I get to watch her step into a new phase of her life, learning to be an adult. I am truly blessed to be her mom.

She has taught me that if someone makes fun of you, walk away, they’re not your friend. If someone smiles at you, smile back. It’s better to forget the past, it holds you back. Listen before you talk or you might miss something important. And never ever forget to say thank you when someone does something nice. Most of all, I can do this. If she can over come so many obstacles and challenges I can learn to build a new life for me. My life didn’t end with my divorce, it began.