It was a busy week of school for Cam. Even during the weekdays, he is completing physical therapy activities throughout the school day.
Cameron prefers to have things to do on the weekend and this one was set up for success.
Our family was invited, through the non-profit Lori's Voice, to visit The Critter Barn on Saturday morning. This farm was launched in 1984. The founding family moved from the city to the country. Within six years, they were welcoming kids from schools on field trips and the West Michigan farm is now a destination to over 100,000 visitors. The Critter Barn recently purchased adaptive equipment through a grant they applied for. The equipment will enable kids with different abilities the option to use an adaptive bike or a stroller with a tray. The tray is an excellent spot for bunnies to hang out! It was a very brisk morning seeing the critters, but we loved seeing all of the different animals. Cam's favorite part was seeing the pigs.
From Zeeland, we made our way to Grand Haven to meet Oma and Opa for lunch at The Stable Inn. There was quite a bit to choose from on the menu and it was easy for Cam to navigate in the restaurant.
After a filling meal, we drove over to Rosy Mound to help Cam's grandparents with a few to-dos. Jane and her son love organizing and they worked with Oma to put away holiday decorations while Chris installed a motion sensor light in their hall closet. We watched a Disney animal show and before we knew it, the late afternoon had set in. After hugs and goodbyes, we had an uneventful trip back to Grand Rapids. That evening, Cam requested to watch a movie that had a person in a wheelchair. We chose "The Upside" because Chris and Jane had already seen it and felt that Cam was mature enough to understand some of the adult themes. Cam really liked the film, especially the funny parts and the fact that the main character had a power wheelchair similar to his.
Jamie Paolinetti of Disabled Sports USA has said "limitations live only in our minds."
That could be a motto for the Adaptive Ski Association of West Michigan which is a volunteer organization. It was established in the early 1980s as Cannonsburg Challenged Ski Association (CCSA) to offer individuals with disabilities the opportunity to participate in winter activities. CCSA started with only ten students, one outrigger, a bamboo pole and one sit ski, and has now evolved over the years into a professionally trained organization with a full range of adaptive equipment, ready to serve a wide variety of needs. In 2022, the name was changed to Adaptive Ski Association of West Michigan (ASAWM).
We had enrolled Cam for a full session which consists of 5 two-hour lessons over the course of 5 weeks taking place on Sunday afternoons. Chris and Jane are able to buy lift tickets and ski with their son too (as long as they don't get in the way of the professionals).
Cam's team of three volunteers consists of Jason, the team leader, Grace and Vincent. All of them are extremely proficient skiers. However, tethering the adaptive skis that Cam uses is very different from just traversing down a hill on your own. One of the most difficult aspects is positioning the adaptive equipment on the chairlift. It actually springs up to place the sled portion on the lift itself. It's quite a bit of maneuvering.
Since Cam is involved in a lesson, he is able to wait in the "short line" for quicker ascent to the top.
Fortunately for Cam's parents, they are allowed to stay in the same line as well. Even though Cam tipped over twice, he took it all in stride and requested another trip up the chairlift.
At the end of the lesson, our teenager told us "I was nervous before it started but now I can't wait to do it again next week!" His parents couldn't agree more 😀
Cam has his own set of "bad" words that he doesn't like to hear and tries not to use himself. At the top of his list are the words 'dumb' and 'stupid.' He learned from a very young age they were not good words to use to describe others. Cam and his dad were working on a network issue at home one evening. They were both frustrated over a blocking element in their troubleshooting. To express his own negativity, Cam chose to spell out his frustration.