Who’s teaching who

For the love of Adams Camp, we send our sons each summer so that they can experience adventure, joy, spend time with their peers, time away from mom and dad, time away for mom and dad and so they can enjoy themselves and their self dependence. We have been taking Kyle and Hunter to camp for more than 10 years and each and every summer we are more amazed by how our sons touch the lives of others in addition to the love that is given to them.

In the childhood years we fall in love with the therapists and the volunteers that spend their days at camp with our children. They spend all day giving our children attention that will help them in progressing towards a more ‘normal’ life. Things like buttoning their shirts or tying their shoes, things we all learn and take for granted, things we find so simple we cannot teach to our own kids. These therapists work long hard hours giving equal attention to 4 to 5 children per session and for 5 to 6 hours for 5 days, mom and dad get to have time for mom and dad. As our children age they continue to Adventure Camp and amazing things continue to happen.

Adventure Camp is staffed by counselors and volunteers, age ranges 16 to 21; these young adults are responsible for our kids and the following text is copied directly from Adams Camp website:

“This program provides an experience that is full of fun, challenge and adventure! Campers enjoy activities that expand social horizons, increase constructive risk-taking, and provide the opportunity to develop the courage to try new things while increasing independence and confidence.

Parents, watch your child participate in daily adventures such as zip lining, archery, river rafting on the Colorado river, alpine slide rides, horseback riding, swimming, hiking/nature walks, wall climb, campfires, and cabin games, all culminating in a camp-wide dance at the end of the week. Don’t leave the siblings behind, they can come too! Adam’s Camp is well equipped to handle all your children. Brothers and sisters get their own choice of exciting activities at our Adventure Camp.

The number of experienced counselors and volunteers per small group size allows for individualized relationships with each camper. Two experienced counselors and 4 teen volunteers act as mentors and provide assistance with daily living skills for ten children. Campers, staff, and volunteers stay in family-style cabins.

Adventure campers must be mobile and enjoy group activities. This program is designed for youth and young adults with mild to moderate special needs, primarily in association with autism spectrum disorder, cerebral palsy and Down syndrome. This program may not be a match for those whose primary diagnosis is an emotional, behavioral, or psychiatric disorder.”

This year was the boys 4th summer at Adventure camp and it’s the 4th year that the boys have made new friends and those new friends are the volunteers and counselors. We drop the boys off on Monday evening and meet part of the team at that time; Kyle and Hunter are eager to get settled in and start their week. Some of the staff has had the boys in prior years but for the most part, there are many new faces. We pick the boys up on the following Saturday morning, during the week thanks to technology and social networking we can see photos of the activities each day of the week, but the best part of the week is Saturday morning.

Of course the boys are thrilled to see us, Hunter is in full Chewbacca mode and Kyle runs right passed his mother in order to get to me with a big hug ‘DAD’ . . . and they throw their duffle bags in the back of the car and crawl in and find their IPods and a snack for the drive home. Then we get to meet with counselors and volunteers to get a brief summary of the week, and the looks in their eyes, some crying, some with smiles as big as day. These young adults in less than a week have fallen in love with our children and some will become lifelong friends.

As a parent I wonder what the future holds for my sons and for families like mine, and thanks to Adams Camp, I have hope in the future.

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About kellykrei

Husband to Michele Martinson Krei for 32 years and father of 21 year old twin boys, Kyle & Hunter, both endowed with Down syndrome and Autism Spectrum Disorder.
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