During the Village of Palmetto Bay’s summer camp this year, Michael Rilo was one of the CIT’s (Counselor in Training). As someone who had previously attended the summer camp, he welcomed the chance to participate. When his bike was stolen, the village came to the rescue.
“I live about 10 blocks from Coral Reef Elementary, which I bike to every day,” Rilo said.
“One regular Wednesday we had returned from a fantastic pool day and everything was normal. As the hours go by and camp is concluding, I sign out and say goodbye. I then notice my bike was gone, and was switched for a broken pink bike that included a rusty chain and one pedal.”
Parks and Recreation director Fanny Carmona, who has a lot of respect for Rilo, was dismayed by the theft and wanted to do something.
“A super responsible, energetic, reliable, smart, and just an overall great young man,” Carmona said about Rilo. “Come rain or shine, he came to camp every single day on his bike. He really deserves recognition for his commitment and dedication to the overall success of our camp program — definitely a true role model.”
Carmona had an idea and got the approval of village manager Ed Silva. They arranged a surprise.
Rilo explained what happened.
“Shortly after camp ended this summer, my father had told me that Fanny, the parks and recreation director, needed help with some paperwork,” he said. “I stopped by in the afternoon where she was waiting for me, with her staff and a new bike. At first I was in complete shock, and the only word that escaped me was ‘wow.’
“I was extremely thankful and at a loss of words that they would go out of their way to do something so thoughtful for me. This made me feel extremely special and showed how much they cared for me and the community.”
Rilo said that working as a counselor in training was worthwhile on many levels.
“The experience was not only something I will never forget, but will cherish forever,” Rilo said. “It wasn’t only the experience I enjoyed; it was especially the people I met and the unexplainable feeling I would get just being there. Above all, I love to give back and be a part of making the kids feel as happy as I once did when I attended the same camp not too long ago.”