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A week of camp and inspiration

It’s been a week of camp and inspiration. What more could I ask for on my quest for summer fun?
First, let me address a mistake I made in Tuesday’s story about the seventh annual camp for children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) at Dan Nicholas Park. My science teachers through the years would not be surprised to learn that I erred in relating part of Georgette Edgerton’s science lesson to campers.
A teacher at North Stanly High School, Edgerton left me a telephone message explaining that I had used the term “hydrophobic” incorrectly. The “phobic” part of the word should have been an obvious clue, but I was too excited about the fact that one student had put 147 drops of water on a penny before it spilled over to pay more attention.
As Edgerton explained, the science term referring to water’s ability to attach to itself is “hydrophilic.” She had used the term “hydrophobic” to describe the reaction of oil and alcohol to water.
Campers also placed drops of oil and alcohol onto pennies, but as you might expect, they were not able to put nearly as many.
OK. OK. I made a big F in the ADHD Camp science class, but I met lots of wonderful children and Dr. Wayne Koontz of Salisbury Pediatric Associates, who is reaching out to help them and many other youths in the community.
And ó I intend to designate time this weekend to see how many drops of water I can ease onto a penny before it spills over.
Tuesday, I returned to Dan Nicholas for the fifth annual Second Wind Asthma Camp. This time, I had a chance to talk with five children who were amazingly open about how having asthma affects them.
I saw the determination in their eyes when they told me what they wanted to do with their lives and wondered if the difficulty they’ve faced being asthmatic would increase their focus to achieve their dreams. It wasn’t surprising to learn that one wanted to be a doctor and another a pediatric nurse.
Spending time with Dr. Chris Magryta and hearing about his efforts to make children healthier tends to make a person want to make a difference in the world. I left there with renewed hope for my own efforts.
That night, when I went to cover the monthly meeting of the Rowan County Board of Social Services, I was inspired yet again by the presentation honoring outgoing Chairman Dr. Nilous Avery.
Avery was one of the people I interviewed for my “Tuesday People” profiles a few years ago, and he remains one of my favorite interviewees. The minister at Mount Zion Missionary Baptist Church, Avery gives out hugs, smiles and encouraging words wherever he goes, and my encounters with him have always left me eager to “pay it forward.”
Tom Brewer, program administrator for the department’s children’s services division, read “The Power of One,” a poem by an anonymous author, before presenting a framed copy to Avery.
The poem moved me to tears, which I’m afraid I did not hide very well. The words were simple, but profound.
My favorite lines are “One tree can start a forest,” “One bird can herald spring,” “One candle wipes out darkness,” “One voice can speak with wisdom,” and of course, the last one, “One person can make a difference.”
When I emerged from the physical and emotional aftermath of chemotherapy treatments for breast cancer last year with a new outlook that I called my “Lazarus Experience,” I vowed to spend the rest of my life ó however long that is ó trying to be a force for good in the world.
I’m not sure how well I’ve done so far. But I do know this, my quest was renewed with great vigor this week by the examples set by Dr. Wayne Koontz, Dr. Chris Magryta and Dr. Nilous Avery.
They are among many lighthouses in this community, inspiring all of us to shine brightly.
Contact Kathy Chaffin at 704-797-7683.

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