Thank you for ensuring Nicholas, and other campers with disabilities,
can make their dreams come true at Camp Summit
I first heard about Camp Summit several years ago while sitting at the pediatrician’s office. As we faced a new behavioral challenge with my son, Nicholas, the doctor asked if we’d ever thought about signing him up for camp. Since he’s completely dependent on others, I didn’t think he would be a good candidate, but I did briefly look at the different camp sessions.
Nicholas has cerebral palsy. He is nonverbal, has his own unique sounds and signs, is dependent on a feeding tube for daily nutrition, and is completely unaware of danger or consequences. I thought there was no way I could send him away for a week, especially with behavior problems.
The following year, our case manager also encouraged me to look into camp. She knew many families in our situation and felt camp would be a great experience for Nicholas. I was desperate for a break, so I started the registration process. When we got the news Nicholas could go to spring break camp, I was excited for him, but as the reality of that sunk in, so did the doubt, guilt, anxiety, and uncertainty.
How could I send Nicholas away to a place where no one knows him? Who will help him change clothes, eat, medicate, and get around? How will they communicate with him or know what his sounds mean? Will he feel scared, alone, or think I abandoned him? So many thoughts ran through my head! I spoke with the Camp Director who answered all my questions, calmed my nerves, and reassured me Nick would be well taken care of - that they have had years of experience with children like him.
Driving to camp, Nick couldn’t have been more excited or me more anxious. I still wasn’t convinced he was going to want us to leave once we were at camp. To my surprise, Nick pushed my husband and me out of his room, insisting it was time for us to leave. That was exactly what I needed to see! I knew then he would be just fine.
Everything about Camp Summit was amazing!The counselors were all so attentive, gentle, and genuine. The week without Nick did seem long, but I received updated pictures along the way, and I could see how happy our son was to be there. My heart especially melted the day we went to pick Nick up from camp.
The pure joy and excitement on his face when he saw us arrive and the tears he and his counselors shed as they said good-bye told me everything I needed to know. At that moment, I knew this was the first of many more years to come with Camp Summit.
~Angela, A Proud Camper Parent