Sunday, July 30, 2023

Wheeling Around at Sports Camp - Week of July 24th

"There are more things to alarm us than to harm us, and we suffer more often in apprehension than reality." ~Lucius Annaeus Seneca
"All camps are hard, that's what they're intended to be. They make you focus when you're tired, when you don't feel like doing things and to see how long you can retain and pay attention." ~Michael Strahan

In previous years, the months of July and a portion of August were spent in summer school for Cam. He had always qualified for three days a week and loved being with friends and teachers.  This summer it wasn't offered to him and we most definitely credit Ms. Ann for her expert tutoring.  Since the last week in July was open, we talked to Cameron about signing up for Mary Free Bed's Junior Wheelchair Sports Camp.  He agreed, but was definitely uncertain about how things would go...

Kids and teens age 7-18 'take over' Grand Valley State University’s campus playing sports like basketball, lacrosse and tennis. Every year camp provides the chance for kids to come together through adaptive sports to try new activities, enjoy a bit of healthy competition and make lifelong friends.

This marks the 39th year of the camp, which is hosted by the Mary Free Bed Wheelchair and Adaptive Sports program and welcomes campers from Michigan, Indiana and Ohio. The camp is led by instructors who are also competitive wheelchair athletes. Former campers return as volunteers to help mentor and encourage the younger campers. Junior Wheelchair Sports camp offers campers the chance to try a variety of sports – including basketball, cycling, dodgeball, handball, kayaking, lacrosse, sled hockey, softball and tennis. 
Monday morning, Cam woke up early to get ready to go.  To help ease him into things, Ms. Amanda met us at Grand Valley to hang out and grab some awesome pictures of Cam in action.  When Jane headed back to work that morning, she also wasn't certain how the day would progress for her son.  Just a couple of hours later, the photos appeared on her phone from Amanda with glowing reports about how much fun Cam was having.  He had already met a lot of new people.  His group leader was Mr. Dave who was also in a wheelchair.  April, one of Cam's longtime friends was in his group as well as other kids he knew.  Basketball, lacrosse and hand cycling were all on the agenda that day.  And, we had one tired teenager that evening.

On Tuesday during the drive over, Cam chatted the entire time about how much he liked camp.  Chris and Jane went together with him in the van and Ms. Amanda met us there.  Cam's parents headed to the cottage to check on things after dropping him off.  And we were pleasantly surprised when a joint decision was made for Cameron to handle things on his own, with help from the nurses at camp.  Ms. Amanda left after lunch. One of the nurse volunteers, Morgan, completed quite a few of the activities with Cam and even sent Jane some great pictures.

Each evening, Cam was spent and tired, but in a good mood and a chatterbox about everything that took place each day.  Jane and Amanda received messages from Morgan about how much fun Cam was having.  On Thursday afternoon, there was even a water fight with the Allendale Fire Dept and everyone looked completely soaked!  Upon pickup that day, mom and son headed to an family friend open house in Spring Lake they were invited to.  There was a food truck and an axe-throwing area.
Friday was only a half day for the conclusion of camp and after some morning sport activities, there was a lunch for everyone and an awards ceremony.  When it was all over, Cam was really sad.  He couldn't believe the week had gone by so quickly.  We promised to keep in touch with Morgan.  It was an emotional time saying goodbye, but Cam already indicated he definitely wanted to sign up for next year.

Oma and Opa arrived at our house early Friday evening to stay for the weekend.  As a group, we traveled to Stony Lake on Saturday afternoon.  We celebrated the life of Erica, a close family friend who Jane used to babysit.  We will miss her so much and Cam remembers all of the fun parties at Stony Lake that she organized.  

On Sunday, we all relaxed together and worked on a few projects.  After a busy week, the relaxation time was required and Cam's favorite houseguests are Oma and Opa!

Camology Quotes:

During all of the activities at camp this week, Cam had praise for every sport, except for dodgeball.  He also had lots of praise for Morgan, and in turn Morgan sent us this message about Cameron. "You have raised the kindest and sweetest kid in the world! Getting to know him this week has blessed me in so many ways."

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