Fifteen MBA students teamed up with Camp LIFE to create and hold the first Camp LIFE Family Day Camp, which attracted 51 campers in April. The MBA student volunteers paired up with their campers and families to support and encourage each camper throughout the day. This year, family members also were invited to stay at the camp to witness the nurturing environment provided for their children.
MBA Students Helping Our Community is a student organization for graduate students that focuses on giving back to the community. MBA SHOC does this by providing assistance to local, national and international charities through community service and fundraising events. Members participate in many community initiatives such as The Big Event, Habitat for Humanity, Special Olympics-Texas and Camp Life.
Since 2010, MBA SHOC has been a primary sponsor of Camp LIFE, a unique and inclusive camping adventure for children with disabilities and their siblings. In the past, the MBA students have raised money every winter through fundraisers to help support camper sponsorships, but this year they wanted a more hands-on experience.
Amy Sharp, associate director of Camp Life, said she saw the students gain an incredible amount of comfort with disability by volunteering for Camp LIFE. “The MBA SHOC gained cultural competency in a culture often forgotten, the culture of disability. I saw these individuals grow in one day. At the end of the day the MBA SHOC members were confident, important role models to the campers.”
The groups participated in horseback riding, barnyard petting, fishing, canoeing, creating art and archery. Parents of the 27 youngsters shared their gratitude and appreciation for the Camp LIFE Family Day Camp and the Mays MBA students.
Chad Riley, president of MBA SHOC, said the event helped members exemplify selfless service, a Texas A&M University core value. “Our organization felt that creating an event with the campers would allow us to be a more effective partner, broaden our experiences, and give us an opportunity to have a great time while serving others,” he said. “This was one way for us to sacrifice a day off to serve our community and be there for families of children with disabilities. Each of us learned what it means to hold to these values. ”
Riley said the camp helps give the MBA students a greater respect for parents of children with disabilities. “We learned there is more to service than sending a check, and we have a better understanding of how we can make helping our neighbors a way of life.”
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Texas A&M University’s Mays Business School educates more than 5,000 undergraduate, master’s and doctoral students in accounting, finance, management, management information systems, marketing and supply chain management. Mays consistently ranks among the top public business schools in the country for its undergraduate and MBA programs, and for faculty research. The mission of Mays Business School is creating knowledge and developing ethical leaders for a global society.