Upcoming Elizabethtown High School senior Shelby Butler’s love of helping children is evident in many of her day-to-day endeavors. In fact, nearly all of her summer activities have revolved around helping local youth.
Butler is working with E’town Swim & Fitness’ Fitness Camp program for the second year. She’s primarily involved with young children.
The camp mostly takes place at Sky’s the Limit Indoor Trampoline and Adventure Park, adjacent to the fitness center. Throughout the day, Butler helps provide children with breakfast and lunch and supervises the children while they play at the trampoline park, take part in outdoor sports and swim. Children also create crafts twice a week, Butler said.
“I’m just making sure that they’re loved on and that they get the attention that they need,” she said. “I’m just trying to create a positive environment.”
Butler also volunteered with Camp Tessa earlier this month, which is a summer program for children with autism spectrum disorders designed to improve social skills. Butler served as a peer buddy, pairing with a child throughout the entirety of the camp, which took place last week at Severns Valley Baptist Church in Elizabethtown.
One of her favorite activities through Camp Tessa, she said, was a musical therapy session, in which camp participants sang and played instruments with camp staff and volunteers.
“It was just fun to see all of them connect with that and they loved it,” she said.
Singing is a major hobby for Butler, who uses her talents with a worship team at Southeast Christian Church’s Elizabethtown campus. She also volunteers each Sunday with the church’s nursery, watching over the children of parents attending morning services.
At EHS, Butler takes part in the school’s archery team and has served as a class officer throughout high school, serving as vice president. She also is involved with the school’s Fellowship of Christian Athletes and Students Against Destructive Decisions clubs.
EHS archery coach Daniel Thorn said Butler exhibits an outgoing and positive personality on and off the archery range.
“Constantly smiling, she is a vital part of the archery team’s success and motivates her teammates not only through her actions, but also through inspiration and encouragement,” he said. “Shelby is an excellent example of a positive role model both for her high school teammates, as well as the younger archers on the middle school team.”
Following graduation next year, Butler said she plans on studying early childhood education at either Elizabethtown Community and Technical College or Asbury University. She said her goal is to one day become a preschool teacher.
Butler said her decision to work with small children was solidified through a child services class she took last year in which she was given the opportunity to visit Panther Academy in Elizabethtown and work with preschool and kindergarten classes.
“The preschoolers really had my heart,” she said. “I’ve always really connected with the little ones.”