Volunteer Profile – Mandy Harvey
How many camps have you attended?
Why do you volunteer for Feel the Magic®?
Oh wow, we could be here all day! Whilst I am lucky that I have not lost a parent, I have unfortunately lost a lot of people in my life, family and friends, and I didn’t deal with it very well at all. When I read about this, I knew immediately it was something I wanted to be a part of. If I could help someone get through their grief better than I did, then that is enough.
I have worked on the ‘Blue Team’ who run around in the background making everything look seamless, been a mentor and am now on the amazing talk time team, helping guide kids through their grief and loss.
I volunteer for Feel the Magic because I see first hand the difference this makes to a child, whether they are seven or 17. To watch them finally understand they are not alone, and to see them grow over such a short space of time is so fulfilling. Their stories are heartbreaking, but their resilience and strength is awe inspiring.
The added fact that I now have a new family that I know I can call on at any time, and the bond we all share (and the amazing hugs) are the icing on the cake.
What is your favourite season and why?
My favourite season is Summer. Summer represents making space in your life for the loved one you have lost, but now living your life around that and growing with it. My favourite activity at Camp is when we do the ‘Web of Life’. We wrap some string around our wrist and say something that rocked at camp, something that is going to stick with us, and something we want to leave behind. That part always gets me teary with pride!
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve heard about grief?
That grief is all the love you want to give, but have no where for it to go. That, and we are never alone. Our experiences may be different, but grief is universal.
What inspires you about our campers?
Everything! From just being brave enough to show up to Camp, through to the way they articulate themselves, the way they support each other and show such empathy and connection amongst their groups. They encourage each other in activities, band together at disco to challenge mentors to dance offs, hand out tissues and give hugs to each other when they share their stories. It is so beautiful to watch.
My last Camp, we had a mentor share their story. When she started crying, she had six girls hanging off her and comforting her to get through the rest of it. These kids go through the worst thing in their lives, and here they are, facing it head on. We could all learn from them!
A final note from Mandy:
Just a massive thank you to James and Kristy for creating this magical place. When I walk through the gate of the Camp I am 100% there for all of those kids, but if I am being honest, it has changed my life more than I could have ever imagined. I have grown so much and I am forever grateful for the friends it has brought me, that I now also call family.
If you are on the edge wondering whether or not if you should get involved, just DO IT. You will be supported, loved and forever changed for the better.