WhyPALS

Leadership Blog Series: Kelly Kitchen

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1. What made you want to become a leader in the PALS community?

I wanted to get involved with PALS leadership because I have had some wonderful head Counselors and Directors in the past who made it look like so much fun. After speaking to them about how rewarding it is to watch Camp come to life and facilitate a welcoming place for people to grow these lifelong friendships, I knew I had to be involved. 

2. How have you grown as a person through your PALS leadership experience?

Working as a Director with PALS is by far the most rewarding and challenging experience of my life. You have to get out of your comfort zone and reach out to people to create lasting partnerships. It is always a bit awkward, but knowing what the end goal is, it pushes you to grow those relationships. Another way I feel PALS has helped me grow is learning how to be a better advocate for those in the Down syndrome community. This extends far beyond our week at Camp! 

3. What legacy do you want to leave with PALS as a leader?

My personal goal was to bring PALS to Richmond. We did that and had a wonderful week! I think that will be a part of my PALS history, but outside of the location, I want everyone to come to Camp and have a fun-filled week where they try something new and get outside of their comfort zones. I believe that is the best way to grow meaningful relationships.

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Leadership Blog Series: Sarah Miller

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1. What made you want to become a leader in the PALS community? 

Hi PALS people! I had the privilege of directing PALS New York City this summer. I cannot even begin to describe the experience and what it has taught me. I have been involved in PALS for 4 consecutive summers and during that time have worked up the leadership track. I wanted to become a leader in the PALS community to help create the Camps that have changed the lives of so many, promoted acceptance and inclusion, and made the world a better place. I will always aspire to learn and grow as a leader and continue creating programs that have such a positive impact on the world we live in.

2. How have you grown as a person through your PALS leadership experience?

I have grown tremendously through my PALS leadership experience. I have learned immensely about myself, how to be an estimable leader, and how to be a stronger advocate. Being a leader has taught me to celebrate all successes; big and small, and to not sweat the things you cannot change. 

3. What legacy do you want to leave with PALS as a leader?

As a PALS leader, I hope to leave the legacy of a hardworking and patient role model. At the end of the day, all you can do is try your best, and make the most of everything with contagious energy. 

All the PALS Love,

Sarah Miller  

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Leadership Blog Series: Melia Rao

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1. What made you want to become a leader in the PALS community?

Because of my love for the Camp! I wanted to contribute more to an organization that I love and that has given me a new perspective by becoming an Ambassador.

2. How have you grown as a person through your PALS leadership experience?

I have learned more about the organization and how it is run. My love for the community has grown. This community has influenced me and showed me what I want to do in my future career.

3. What legacy do you want to leave with PALS as a leader?

I want people to know that PALS is an amazing organization that is unlike any other. They not only care about the Campers, but the families and volunteers involved in the organization.

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Leadership Blog Series: Morgan Heckel

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1. What made you want to become a leader in the PALS community? 

Six years ago, I joined the PALS family after watching my best friend Maggie fall in love with the organization. After a couple of seasons watching amazing leaders and friends organize and develop successful Camps, I knew directing was a dream of mine. Directors are the ones who use their imagination and creativity to create the PALS Magic - what an amazing opportunity!? The dream came true three summers ago, and now I am one of the volunteers who helps build a place where EVERYONE is able to be themselves. Both Campers and Volunteers call our time at Camp the “best week of the summer”, and it is an honor to be a small part in that!

2. How have you grown as a person through your PALS leadership experience?

I met Maggie in kindergarten, so I have always seen a world of acceptance. But, over the years with PALS I have personally grown to become an even stronger advocate for people with Down syndrome. The PALS family has supported my development to become an effective, lifelong agent of inclusion.  

3. What legacy do you want to leave with PALS as a leader? 

I hope that my energy and passion radiate through others, so more people are able to see that we are all more alike than different.

Always PALS Love,

Morgan 

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