Well, camp has begun, with all the nervousness and excitement that you would expect. Campers arrived on the first day, eager to begin programming (Minecraft mobs, apps and video games), or learning to code in Python. At the same time, they were shy about meeting all the other new kids in the camp. Ice breakers and a shared interest in programming quickly overcame those initial nervous minutes, and things only got better from there!
Watching our campers as they enjoy everything about their days, I am left with a burning question… Why is it that more camps don’t offer accommodations for children with special needs? I’m not speaking so much about specialty camps that cater to different special needs, but rather general interest camps, or even the types of specialty camps that focus on technology or other specific interests.
We have a number of campers who have been identified with ADHD, being on the Autism spectrum, or having other learning challenges; we also have many campers who have no special needs or challenges to contend with.
And they are having a great time together.
Strengths Level the Playing Field
There is no real distinction between them because our focus is not on their differences, it is on their shared interest in the camp theme of the week. And because we focus on their strengths, we get to work with the best of the best. Special needs do not play the focal role here – their advanced abilities level the playing field, so that there is minimal difference between the campers. Well, other than the regular differences that exist in any typical room full of different people. Hard to believe? Well, it’s true.
And what really makes me feel badly is the number of parents who have called, asking if it is true – would we really take their special needs child? Obviously, they have been met with a lot of rejection on behalf of their children. As a parent, imagine how much that must hurt, how discouraging that must be, to be turned away time and again from the opportunity to give your child an experience that almost defines a rite of passage of childhood – summer camp!
Everyone has a Gift!
Remember that everyone has some gift, some thing that they are interested in and good at, and when they are able to spend their time engaged in that activity, that is where they will shine.
We have had a lot of shining moments this week from every one of our campers, and I am so looking forward to what incredible things the rest of the summer will bring!
If you would like to see your child have the opportunity to shine in an area of their strength, take a look at our classes and camps. There are many different options to explore, and grow within. Enjoy the journey!
Until next time, play well!