Every year, when the weather gets warmer, I get excited because summer is around the corner, and this means that I’ll be returning to Camp Massawippi – one of my favorite places to be.
My name is Tanya, and I’m 28 years old. I was born with no eyes at all, and I also have cerebral palsy, making it hard for me to control my legs and arms. As a result, I use a wheelchair to get around.
I was about 10 years old when I first went to this special summer camp. I remember being a little nervous, as it was the first time I’d be away from my mom and dad for such a long period.
I quickly discovered that Camp Massawippi is an amazing place, with fantastic counselors and so many great activities for young people living with physical disabilities. Finally, I could break out from my usual surroundings and enjoy the same things that “normal” children get to experience in the summer!
At Camp, I have the chance to be more independent, and to make up my own mind on what I want to do and what I don’t want to do. There are so many activities to fill up the day. I especially like the dance program – moving my arms and legs to the music feels amazing. It’s also great to be outdoors among nature and feel the sun on my face and the wind in my hair. And at the end of a long day, I love sitting by the campfire, singing songs, and chilling with friends (old and new).
Summers were boring when I was small. I spent most of the time indoors. Sometimes my grandmother or a sitter would take me outside for walks around the neighborhood. This all changed when I went to Camp Massawippi.
One of my absolute favorite activities is hanging out at the waterfront. I’ve even learned to waterski!
I was a little nervous the first time, but I was happy and proud to know I could try something new that no one else in my family has done before – even my younger brother, who tries everything!
It was so much fun, and I screamed with excitement the entire time. It feels like I’m flying!
I’ll never forget when my mom, dad and grandmother visited camp and watched me waterski. My mom took pictures from the boat, while my grandmother watched from the shore (since she’s afraid of water). They were so proud of me, it made me very happy. I also was proud of myself for being able to conquer this sport.
I know that without donors like you, Camp Massawippi would be out of reach for families like mine.
I’m counting the days until the summer so I can go back to Camp. Thanks to my parents, who make so many sacrifices for me all through the year, and to the donors of Camp Massawippi, who’ve made it possible for to spend a part of the summer as other kids do – outside with friends making memories that last forever.
Happy and proud long-time camper