Calyl Robinson, 20, of Annapolis is a sophomore at Limestone College. He volunteered for Box of Rain in 2007 and was asked to become an official counselor just three weeks into his tenure. Since then, he has helped the campers with their activities and helped teach them the virtues Box of Rain aims to instill in its campers.
How did you get involved with Box of Rain?
Four or five summers ago I was actually working at Boatyard Bar and Grill in Eastport and I recently lost that job and my parents got tired of me sitting at home. I was sitting at home for two weeks straight and they were just tired of me sitting around. They were actually friends with Kelsa [McLaughlin, Box of Rain's executive director], so they introduced me to Kelsa and Box of Rain. They were like, 'You know, they could use some volunteers.' I volunteered the first summer and then I was coming back and working with other programs, such as boat building and the bike program.
So you went from volunteer for three weeks to a paid counselor. What's been your favorite part of Box of Rain?
The new groups of kids we get. We have a bunch of cool kids and a bunch of different personalities. Some are not as open as others to begin with. Within the transition to the beginning of summer to the end you watch them grow up and open up. Just be more into new things. A lot of these kids never sailed or never been on the water a day in their lives to begin with. At first they were like, 'Oh, I'm not getting in that water; I'm not getting in that boat.' But by the end of summer they are like, 'I'm not trying to get off of this boat; I'm not trying to get out of this water.'
Was Box of Rain your first exposure to the water?
Oh, no. I grew up on the water. Fishing, crabbing, sailing, boating, wakeboarding ... and all of that.
What do you feel your responsibility is as a counselor in this camp?
I feel like my responsibility is to nurture the environment for the kids to have fun. Open them up to things. I can open the door, but they got to step through the door. I just want them to have fun — that's my responsibility.
What is your favorite part of the job?
Hanging out with kids. Honestly, my favorite part is just hanging out with the kids. I feel like it's wrong for us to get paid for this. It's more fun than work.
What makes it all worth it for you?
The transition, seeing the kids grow up, seeing the kids open up. Seeing them embrace something that two months ago, they were completely shoving away.
So you guys do everything from sailing, water safety, kayak, swimming?
And the kids learned fishing safety and how to fish and we actually did go out on the dock and fish a bit. Last year we went windsurfing and we take field trips.