What comes across when you first meet Corrie-ann is her warm, engaging personality, a quiet confidence and the ability to make the other person feel heard and valued. With her children, Corrie came to Single Moms Camp for the first time in 2004, returning for the next five years. Two of her children who have since served on our summer staff team have further extended the family’s connection with Hidden Acres.
Corrie recalls that her week at camp always felt like an oasis—a protective “cloak” from the pressures and issues of daily life—managing her household, paying the bills, raising three growing kids all on her own and planning for the future. In the camp community Corrie found healing, a place to ask questions, and the chance to learn and grow.
Gratefulness for her positive experience at Single Moms Camp led Corrie to want to give back to the program. This past summer she willingly agreed to be a resource person for the week, where she shared with the other women how the challenges of helplessness and hopelessness in her life were turned into opportunities to learn forgiveness, compassion and empathy, allowing her to grow into the person God intended her to be.
This year’s program theme was “Ripples”, using the visual of a pebble tossed into the water. The resulting ripples radiate out in an expanding circle to affect everything in their path. Corrie built on this concept as she told her story of having absentee parents, spending years trying to fit into various foster homes, experiencing the breakdown of a group home placement and finally being dropped off at a shelter to fend for herself. The trauma, abuse and system failure in her life experience left her facing motherhood as a teenager, but out of this crisis she determined to choose a different path for herself and her child. Today Corrie would say that all of it laid the groundwork for the person she has become and her role as a family support worker, a vocation she is passionate about.
After telling her own story to the women, Corrie invited everyone around the circle to take a stone, drop it into a pool of water and share part of their own experience. As the session began to draw to a close, one normally very quiet participant hesitantly came forward and dropped her stone into the water. She shared that in school she had always felt very alone—an outsider who was frequently teased and bullied. However, in grade 4 there was a red-haired girl who for some reason stood up for her against the others. In Joanne’s mind it was the first time anyone had provided a measure of protection for her. It was a kindness she would never forget.
What she shared next was equally unforgettable. Today, she said, she felt grateful to finally be able to thank that person. The red-haired girl was, in fact, Corrie. The connection between Joanne’s childhood memory and this camp visitor had dawned on her when she heard someone say Corrie’s full name: Corrie-ann Snow.
Up until that moment, Corrie, along with the other women, felt drawn into Joanne’s story—but she had no idea the storyteller was speaking about her! Her response, when Joanne looked her way and revealed her remarkable discovery, was one of utter surprise and amazement. Of course, the whole exchange paved the way not only for deeper and more lively discussion among the women, but a renewed connection for the two it most affected.
That’s part of what we’re all about. Hidden Acres is indeed a place where connections are made, relationships are fostered and amazing moments like this can happen.