Maggie Jasper of St. Charles, Mo., who is pursuing her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Southeast Missouri State University, spent a week of her summer working as a counselor for a Muscular Dystrophy Association camp.
“My favorite memory of camp was meeting so many amazing people,” Maggie said. “It is hard nowadays to really find many people who are selfless and would do anything for anyone else, but here you can turn to anyone for help. The atmosphere of the camp was just amazing to be a part of.”
Each counselor is assigned one camper. Maggie assisted her assigned camper however he needed her, whether by helping him bathe, wiping his hands or assisting him putting on his clothes. She also tried to make her camper’s week as enjoyable as possible.
There were nine counselors and eight campers in Maggie’s cabin, and Maggie said there was never a dull moment.
“These boys are all so very nice and just want to live life as normally as we can,” Maggie said. “One of the most enjoyable days was when we awarded the boys with whoopee cushions for being so good that day. They would not stop laughing every time they sat on it or made someone else.”
Maggie said some of the sponsors were local stores and restaurants. Some of the entertainment included miracle riders, firefighters, Fredbird from the St. Louis Cardinals, a magician and a storyteller.
Maggie heard about the position through two of her friends who were camp counselors last year. She was inspired to join due to participating in MDA walks with people affected by Muscular Dystrophy and their families as well as an experience with one of her friends’ parents.
“I have been dancing for about 13 years of my life at the same dance studio. At this studio, we are a huge family, and one of my fellow dancer’s father has ALS, which is Lou Gehrig’s Disease. I have grown very close to him because he is such a positive person knowing that his situation is very negative,” Maggie said.
Maggie is active in Tri Delta, a sorority at Southeast, when she is not volunteering at summer camps and walking to support the MDA.
“I am in Tri Delta here at Southeast, and I absolutely love it. It opens up so many doors of opportunity and also allows you to meet so many wonderful people. It also benefits by helping people transition from high school to college,” Maggie said.
Maggie appreciates the practical knowledge she receives from her professors at the University as well.
“I believe Southeast has contributed to lots of my success in and out of the classroom. I feel like not only do I comprehend the material in the classroom but I can also apply this knowledge outside of the classroom,” Maggie said.
When she’s not studying, Maggie likes to attend baseball games, hang out with her floor mates and eat at El Acapulco’s, a Mexican restaurant.
Maggie plans to apply for an internship with St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital and would like to eventually work as a nurse practitioner at a hospital in St. Louis.
“I love everything about nursing from the smell of the hospital to working with patients,” Maggie said. “I have wanted to be a nurse since I was very young and was always curious about the human body. I am so excited to be able to help many people in this field, and I know that my patients will also help me grow as a nurse.”
Maggie suggests students volunteer their time. She said the MDA camp is always looking for volunteers, and she can help connect people. Interested parties can email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Maggie also said students should maximize their college experience and take advantage of every opportunity available to them.
“Be open to anything. This isn’t high school anymore, so try new things and experience things,” Maggie said. “Be yourself. There is no better time than now to truly be yourself and find people you want to surround yourself with. Finally, work hard … college is expensive and to truly get your money’s worth, take advantage of the personal interaction you can have with your professors and classmates.”