This is Camper X (obviously not his real name!) and we had the pleasure of his company for six weeks this summer. Camper X was not new to Mooredale Day Camp. In fact he had been attending our summer program for some time.
Since he began taking part in our camp program, Camper X has always been camera shy. Perhaps 'shy' is too light a term - he pretty much refused to be in any photo at all, even the group photo that goes home with every camper at the end of each session. Nothing we did could convince him to take part in any sort of picture. We didn't push him when he said no, but we kept asking because we wanted to show his parents that he was taking part and enjoying the camp program.
Then towards the end of his final two weeks with us, things began to change. One day the section director that Camper X was in came rushing into the camp office. "I just got some great pictures of the campers taking part in a cooking class" she said. "And guess what! Camper X actually posed and smiled for a photo! We should sent it to his mom!" I use to many exclamation points, but she was really that excited. It really was a big deal for us. So we emailed the picture to mom and she was pleased.
A couple of days later, during our all camp swim, I was taking some photos of the activity, and Camper X came up to me to ask if I would take his picture. I almost dropped by camera in the water! I said sure and asked what he wanted to do. "Take a picture of me jumping in the water!" he begged, so that's what we did for the next few minutes. In and out of the pool he went to get some photos of him jumping in the water.
While we ended up with a few good photos, I was more pleased with how we had built enough of a relationship with Camper X to allow himself to trust us to take care of him. When he didn't want his picture taken, we respected that. When he was ready, we celebrated with him.