Why PALS? Our Diversity Helps Us Grow
We often ask members of our PALS Family “Why PALS?” to learn how our mission has impacted their lives. We asked Camp PALS LA Director Erin Parish to share about her experience leading the new LA program and why it’s important to PALS’ long-term growth. Here’s her story!
Dear PALS Family,
I’ve been lucky enough to have volunteered in many different roles with PALS since joining the organization in 2016, but nothing has been as rewarding as being a director this summer. After half a year of planning, the first ever Camp PALS Los Angeles happened in mid-July, and I still cannot stop thinking about that weekend!
Even though those two days flew by, I don’t think we could have had a better time. PALS LA’s entire program largely consisted of new faces, both with and without Down syndrome, but the enthusiasm, warmth, and fun-loving spirit at our program was unparalleled. It felt as though old, lifelong friends were coming back together after some time apart, rather than strangers meeting for the first time. There was vivid representation of a wide range of communities showcased through shared stories, cultures, and lived experiences. This meant that because no one was the same, everyone was.
I feel inspired and overjoyed that the first PALS LA was able to set this very important tone, and hopefully this will be the experience any participant has at PALS, regardless of the program they decide to attend. PALS joining the southern California community truly shows just how much of an impact we can have even in a short amount of time.
PALS LA shows us that we achieve a lot when we grow, but that we are the most triumphant when we are diverse. I am so grateful for the PALS love and magic and support I’ve received in the last few years, and can’t wait to see where we’re off to next!
This content was originally published here.