Getting Uncomfortable

Vanessa Denha Garmo

Vanessa Denha Garmo

I went on my first and last week-long overnight camp trip when I was about 12-years-old. It was through the YMCA. My mom registered me after I tested out a one-night over-night stay through the YMCA, but that was with a friend. When I registered to go for the entire week, I was going with my sisters but because they were at different ages, we would not be with each other and each had a friend to bunk with her. I did not. 

I hated the trip and never camped again.  I was so uncomfortable. 

However, the experience empowered me in some ways. I had to figure out how to meet new people and get along with others.  I was a little intimidated and nervous but I found ways to have fun.  The old cliché of getting out of your comfort zone applied here. 

Fast forward years later, I hesitated to send my daughter on a week-long camping trip even though she had begged me to go for years. She didn’t have anyone to go with, but my friend Ban was gracious and happy to have her tag along with her twin daughters.  Her one daughter even gave up sleeping next to her own sister so my daughter could sleep near her. 

I didn’t sleep the entire time. I stayed awake, not because my husband snored like someone sawing wood, but because I was worried my daughter would fall off the top bunk in the middle of the night. I was anxious that she was home sick. I was panicked that she might hurt herself on the zipline. 

I am a typical mom and a Chaldean one at that!  Again, it was more about my comfort zone than it was about my daughter’s. She loved the experience and can’t wait to go to camp again. 

I might still need a glass of wine to calm me down every night in order to get some sleep, though.  

My daughter will be heading to camp again this year for a week and I hope in the near future it will be with Our Lady of the Fields.  It’s only a 30-minute drive away. I can imagine my daughter making me promise not to show up at camp to check in on her. 

How uncomfortable and embarrassing that would be for her, I write with a little chuckle.  

This cover story is the revamping and rebranding of Camp Chaldean. With the blessing of Bishop Francis, Monsignor Zuhair Kejbo and Fr. Manuel Boji led the committee that has worked on the master plan of the new camp. I sat down with some of the committee members last month for a conversation about the plans for the site.  This is an exciting project for the entire community. Children, adults and entire families will be able to fully enjoy time on the vast land. 

It is opening before the summer hits and it’s time to sign up for some camps. The church and committee members had to step out of their comfort zone to re-evaluate this project and take some risks.  I am sure it will prove to be successful.  

Along with this cover story, we wrote stories about a couple different events. I had the honor of serving as the facilitator for the Chaldean Women’s Committee “Timeline to Success” event at Henry Ford Hospital in West Bloomfield. It was enlightening and engaging.  Each woman on the panel shared valuable information about her career and life.  

Also, we captured the story about the annual Teen Forum the Chaldean News hosts with the Detroit Jewish News in the Walled Lake Consolidated School District. This year, panelist Chris Hamama penned that story.  With the recent school shootings and threats, the conversation included school safety. 

Speaking on these panels and even writing about the experience may not be something any of these people are accustomed to or comfortable with but each offered great insight.

I realized that it’s not about being relaxed. Sometimes to grow in life, we have get really uncomfortable. 

Alaha Imid Koullen
(God Be With Us All)
Vanessa Denha Garmo
Follow her on Twitter @vanessadenha
Follow Chaldean News on Twitter @chaldeannews