One of the hallmarks of my particular nerd camp is the concept of Mandatory Fun. Simply put, it's an hour a day in which we are mandated to do some activity and socialize. Introverts must be forced into this if they are to have friends. The activities vary -- coloring, dodgeball, trivia -- but all have the same purpose.
One of these activities changed me for good. It created in me a commitment I am now determined to keep.
In Chicago there is a charity, Cards for Hospital Kids. Exactly what it says on the tin. We made letters for an evening activity.
You know what? That struck a chord. Having been in the hospital for extended periods to recover from surgery, I can tell you it's beyond boring. I watched Disney Channel, ate, drank, and wallowed. The most exciting thing that occurred was a visit from a service dog.
So I felt strongly about these letters. I worked with vigor, because I knew had I received one six years ago it would probably still be on my wall, a cherished artifact.
At the end of it all, I looked at our colored envelopes in a disparate pile. I almost cried. Because this was a cause that meant something.
I write a letter every week now. I urge Soldiers who feel useless to find a cause they really care about, and make a commitment. Service leads to purpose.