Why Summer Camp?

Posted on June 1st, 2012 by Denise | No Comments

By Denise Koonce OTR

Mom, I want the top bunk!  Mom I wonder if my friends will be back and which horse I will get to ride.  Mom, I can’t wait to swim at night and do the zip line.  These were the words of my daughter as we drove to summer camp this year.  It is her third year to participate in a camp specifically for burn survivors and she loves it!

Just mention the term “Summer Camp” and for most people your mind is instantly filled with fun childhood memories.   The time spent in or on the water, games played, marshmallow roasts, campfire songs, friendships created and memories that will last a lifetime.  Summer camp is an opportunity for children to have fun away from their parents while building skills necessary for life in a different environment.  It provides an exciting, yet supported atmosphere where challenges can be conquered, and the lessons learned can be carried over into everyday life.  There are many benefits to a child participating in a summer camp but I believe the benefits are even greater for those with special needs.

Summer camp for kids with special needs provides them with the opportunity to be around other children who have the same or a similar diagnosis.  This environment provides them with a unique opportunity to learn from each other.  It builds independence, self esteem, self confidence and special bonds.  They will interact with kids whose situation may have created more physical limitations or be less involved than their own.    It helps them build empathy and learn to appreciate what you can do and not focus on what you can not do or what you do not have.   The parents can also benefit as it offers the parents an opportunity to re-charge themselves or spend quality time with their other children.  It helps parents learn that they can leave their child in the capable hands of others and “it will be okay!” 

Houston is very fortunate to have multiple camps available during the summer and the largest host campsite close to Houston is Camp For All.  Camp For All works in partnership with over 50 non-profit organizations (partners) to provide an opportunity for children with special needs and challenging illnesses to come to camp.   Camp For All, the host site, provides barrier free facilities and year round support staff.  The partners provide the medical staff who understands the specific needs of your child, outstanding counselors, and leadership with an understanding of the specific needs of the group.  Some of the camps offered are for individuals with cerebral palsy, autism, spina bifida, cancer, Multiple Sclerosis, Muscular Dystrophy, spinal cord injury, visual and hearing loss/deficits, and many more.  Camp For All is located in a country setting outside the town of Burton, Texas (just over an hour drive from Houston).   

Many of you may already belong to a particular group that offers a summer camp and are planning to attend.  If you are not familiar with the options available I encourage you to start with Camp For All (see below for contact information) and see if they have an appropriate camp for your child. 

“Now let them go forth and create their own Summer Camp memories!!”

Camp For All www.campforall.org                             Campsite office 979-289-3752

Houston office 713-686-5666

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