Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Life at Barnabas with Campers

I feel like this summer we have been with a camp full of super excited three year olds who were trapped in adult and teenage bodies. They are so fun and hilarious. It seems the typical mental age of our campers is anywhere from 3-13 but usually around a 6 year old mental age. Our typical camp schedule (on the days I am not working or running to Springfield) is that we have breakfast every morning with the campers at 8:30.
We usually hang out, work around the house, or walk around camp doing some of the camper activities until lunch about 12:30. We have lunch at 12:30 and then hit the pool. Add a couple of body rests in there for MJ and Smith. Clean up and do dinner at 6:30 and then every night at Camp Barnabas there is a party. After dinner we do the party and wrap-up (which is like praise and worship singing
and a short message).
I have to admit I had a favorite camper first session and really all summer camper. His name was Eddie and we were buds. Eddie was pretty dramatic and for whatever reason responded well to me. So often times his counselor and cabin staff would come find me when Eddie was being unreasonable or having a fit and I could usually calm him down. He was so much fun and it was so fun to make a
connection with him.
Another precious camper who had severe Autism and had major touch issues became intrigued by Baby Smith. She was just all about him and even touched Smith on the head multiple times, stroking him and then out of the blue reached down and kissed him.
Jackson had a favorite camper Preston who adored him. He signed a lot and spoke some. He wanted Jackson to do everything with him and for him. Jackson of course responded to him in such a caring, serving way. It was amazing. They were truly buddies. Jackson also fell in love with my babysitter's (Miss Bre) brother Blake. Jackson loved Blake.
During an Autism week, one cabin of girls fell in love with Mollie Jane and came over during the meal and asked if she could stay in their cabin. Since Mollie Jane was three, we opted to just do morning activities with that cabin. The counselors said she was precious and the autistic girls responded so well to Mollie Jane. She really calmed them.
Jason of course had several campers that fell in love with him. It seems like all of them responded so well to Jason and his golf cart.
All the campers loved to sing and dance. We had so much fun every week. It is so great to see all these special needs kids have the same camp type of experience that I had but in such a unique and different way. I guess it didn't really occur to me that my kids would form relationships with these campers. That was just "icing on the cake"! They were all so different and unique and touched our hearts in different ways. We are all still talking about our camper friends and so hoping they come back next year.

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