All parents worry the first time their child sleeps away from home. If you have a child with special needs, the concerns are even greater.
When Caroline first told us she wants to go to sleep-away camp a few summers ago, our reaction was cautious. Caroline was born with cerebral palsy, a condition that limits her control of her arms and legs. As a result, she’s been in a wheelchair most of her life, and is unable to eat, get dressed, or go to the washroom without assistance.
Caroline had never slept away from us before. Naturally, many thoughts came to our minds. Would Caroline get the personalized attention she required? Was the setting safe? Would Caroline be able to participate in any of the activities?
We were reassured by a phone call to the camp’s director. That summer, despite some lingering nervousness, we packed Caroline’s bags and sent her off on this wonderful camp adventure.
We had the chance to visit the camp and see how she was doing halfway through the 12-night session, and we were immediately impressed. To begin, the camp’s setting along a magnificent lake was beautiful, and the campers were able to get about freely and make the most of the many beachfront activities.
The counselors were attentive, caring, empathetic, and dedicated to ensuring all campers would have an unforgettable summer, full of fun and laughter, while capably tending to their unique needs. This was a place we knew that Caroline could enjoy a sense of fulfillment, personal growth, participate in many different activities, and be independent of her parents.
As parents, we were delighted that Caroline had made many new friends, and even developed a passion for waterskiing – an activity we never dreamed that she’d be able to do!
Caroline has returned to Camp Massawippi every summer since. It’s a time she looks forward to throughout the year.
Linda, proud mom of Caroline