Camper gets the counselor of her dreams at Camp Tiger

Camper gets the counselor of her dreams at Camp Tiger
Mary Claire Ardoin (right), of Lafayette, shares an extra special bond with her Camp Tiger counselor.
(Source: Camp Tiger)
(Source: Camp Tiger)

SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) - For many, going to summer camp is a time to cast aside differences and form lifelong friendships and memories that last a lifetime.

LSU Health Shreveport's annual Camp Tiger does that for dozens of children with special needs.

It pairs campers with first- and second-year medical students.

And this summer, one first-time camper from Lafayette has the counselor of her dreams.

"He's awesome, he's cool and he's the most amazing friend you could ever ask for," said Mary Claire Ardoin, who was diagnosed at birth with Down syndrome.

She's paired up with her brother Jacob Ardoin, who will be a first-year medical student when classes begin later this summer.

Getting to spend a week with Mary Claire as her camp counselor has been nothing short of a gift, the Lafayette resident said.

"Having a whole week of just being around her has been a blessing for me. It really has."

Jacob Ardoin said his sister has such a joy and happiness and truly loves people from the bottom of her heart.

"The way she approaches everybody and the way she just truly does think the best of everyone, the best of every situation."

Mary Claire has a warm, unconditionally loving presence that fills any room she enters.

"She's so truly happy to do whatever."

Jacob Ardoin believes there's also something to be said about the way his sister treats total strangers.

"It's so easy for her to have a great day because it's all she sees in people.

"When she has a bad day, she just overlooks it and says, 'I love you'."

Copyright 2018 KSLA. All rights reserved.