Camp News
Camp Stories

Giving Back

By Hannah O’Briant

July 24, 2019

Children growing up with a chronic medical condition or serious illness face many challenges in their development. Victory Junction helps these kids to build self-confidence, inspire courage, and give them hope. 

Nineteen-year-old Matthew Hilliard, also known as Matt, is a first-year counselor at camp this summer. He’s from Live Oak, Florida and is a rising sophomore at North Florida Community College. Matt has also lived with a birth defect called Spina Bifida for his entire life.  As a kid, Matt struggled with bullying, lack of self-confidence, and the desire to feel accepted.

He didn’t like what he saw in the mirror every day and realized that a place like Victory Junction might help relieve these negative feelings. Matt explained that “people here saw me for my strengths instead of all the things the world was telling me was wrong with me.” 

Matt’s mother heard about Victory Junction and brought him to his first week of camp in 2008, attending every summer until 2016. He always knew that he wanted to be a counselor and provide those same experiences for campers that he had as a camper himself. He really enjoys being on the other side of camp and being involved in the behind the scenes action that goes into making sure each week is memorable for every camper. 

Matt has been so passionate about every camper that he meets as a counselor, saying that “They call me ‘big brother’ here and that makes me feel like I’m doing something impactful.”

Counselors like Matt give campers a sense of belonging and a reason to come back time and time again. Victory Junction is so lucky to have Matt as a part of the VJ family for all these years and we look forward to making more memories with him in the future.  

Once a part of the Victory Junction family, always a part.