What makes a good photo? The answer to that question is different for everyone. My favorite photos are ones that hold some kind of meaning and tell a story. The “Your Favorite Photo?” assignment instructed me to choose my favorite photo I’ve ever taken and explain why I love it. I thought this sounded like an easy assignment at first, but quickly realized it wasn’t. It’s so hard to have to choose just one picture, and then have to figure out how to explain what it means to you.

I ended up selected a picture that I took when I was in China last summer. To me, this picture feels like a culmination of everything I experienced. I was in China volunteering at a camp for orphans. The camp allowed the kids to leave their orphanages and experience things they never had before, such as being in a loving environment and trying new things like eating ice cream or going to a water park, which is what we were doing in this photo.

The little girl in the photo wearing the eagle pride backpack is the child that I was paired with my second week. (Fun fact, I gave her the backpack at the end of the week so it’s still in China.) In the photo, you can see a few of the different groups of children and volunteers who were paired together. It was raining as we were leaving the water park, which is why people in the photo are using umbrellas.

My experiences in China made a huge impact on my life, and I am still very passionate about volunteerism and orphan care. I am planning to return to China this summer. For me, this picture shows a glimpse of one of the most important stories that I can tell. That is why it is my favorite photo.