Brandon Mock is one happy camp counselor

KANSAS, Ohio Since the age of 15, one Kansas, Ohio, native has been spending his quality time helping other children at camp as a cabin counselor.

Brandon Mock, a graduate of Hopewell-Loudon Local Schools who now attends Bowling Green State University, studying communications, has spent his summer at Flying Horse Farms, where he has been living in the cabins with the children.

Flying Horse Farms, located outside Mount Gilead, is described in a release provided by the organization as “providing a magical, transformative camp experience for more than 800 children with serious illnesses a year and their families.”

The camp also is part of The SeriousFun Children’s Network, founded in 1988 by actor Paul Newman.

Mock said his job has involved “watching over the kids and making sure they’re OK, being a support for them when they needed it and, my favorite part, being goofy and weird and trying to make their week the best.”

Mock was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s T-cell lymphoma at age 11.

“At around age 13, I had my first experience going to camp,” Mock said.

At the time, Mock said, Flying Horse Farms was in the beginning stages and he spent a summer at Double H Ranch, in the Adirondack Mountains of New York.

“I think I was 15 when FHF had their first summer, and ever since then, they haven’t been able to get rid of me,” Mock said. “When I aged out of being a camper, I became part of their ranger program.”

Mock said the program focused on personal growth of leadership.

“I was able to see the transformation of camp happening in front of me, and being able to see the impact that the camp had on the kids was what made me want to come back,” Mock said.

During his time at camp, Mock worked with about 70 campers a week who live with illnesses such as cancer, heart disease or craniofacial anomalies.

“There were a lot of moments where I had to be emotionally supportive for a camper who was scared or not feeling well, or even just missing home,” Mock said.

He worked on projects such as recycling and repurposing used materials, improving sustainable operations and decreasing waste, and utilizing the natural environment.

Mock said he also had moments of just being a good role model to some of the children, “singing loudly and dancing awkwardly so they felt more comfortable doing it.”

“I did a lot of just being a friend and playing games with the kids,” Mock said.

Mock said he realized how important camp was to the children and how magical of an experience it can be.

“The biggest of all for my personal growth was the realization that I could have as significant of an impact in someone’s life,” he said.

For Mock, his plans are to continue with college and graduate, hoping one day to become a SeriousFun camp director. But, long-term, he just wants to be happy.

“I want a family and to continue helping others and impacting people’s lives in a positive way,” he said.