The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.”
Scott Wright, a senior water polo player at Orange Lutheran High School, has first-hand experience in how meaningful it is to help others.
To honor the death of his good friend, Dragon Kim, whose life was prematurely ended in a tragic accident while camping in Yosemite, Scott decided to take action. He applied for and received a $5,000 grant from The Dragon Kim Fellowship Program, which sponsored community service projects this past summer. The fellowship program was set up to encourage high school students to think about how they would “change the world” if money was no object.
Scott wanted to pay tribute to the memory of his friend by focusing on two things that Dragon was passionate about: swimming and playing water polo. The result? Scott worked with two of his fellow water polo teammates, Thomas Chiaromonte and Mason Killion, to establish a two-day clinic for children from Santa Ana to learn how to swim and to have a little fun playing water polo.
During the camp, the children learned basic skills like treading water, as well as different swim strokes, such as the butterfly and freestyle. Those who did not know how to swim before the camp stayed in the shallow end of the pool and practiced more elementary swim techniques; those who were a little more experienced or comfortable in the pool participated in water polo-related games in the deep end. Water polo goals were set up at both ends of the pool so everyone – regardless of their abilities – could enjoy playing games and having fun in the pool.
What the camp offered the children, however, was not just a place to cool down on a warm summer day; rather, it provided important skills that could one day save their lives: basic pool safety and learning how to stay afloat. Whether they find themselves near a pool or at the beach, those skills may prove invaluable to these children, and thanks to Scott’s camp, they have them.
The children were not the only ones who learned a lot, though. Scott did, too. Through this project, he realized “how in a bubble we all are.” The children he worked with did not have much; their home lives were often challenging. And yet, when he interacted with them, he was struck by how happy the children were “no matter what was going on in their lives.” He said that it was “so nice to see the kids smiling,” and he loved getting to know them. Scott felt he was able to “touch their lives,” which – at the end of the day – is the most important takeaway of all.
A normal response to losing a friend is to grieve, but Scott did so much more. He truly honored his friend’s legacy.
Dragon would be proud.by Grace Funk