Spend a virtual day with Anthony, a veteran of the Black Cabin at Camp Promise – East. Anthony has been a camper since Camp Promise – East’s inaugural year in 2011, so read on to learn some of his tips and tricks for having a great week at camp.
“Today I arrived at camp with a smile on my face, ready for the week to begin. I have been coming to Camp Promise since 2011 and I have made a lot of friends that I am always excited to see. The minute we parked, there was a group of counselors ready to help my family and me unload the van, which was full of my equipment and necessities. When I got out of the van I was greeted with hugs and hellos from the very outgoing and energetic counselors. This energy made me feel welcome and very much accepted.
My counselor guided us through the camper check-in process and brought us in to see the nurse. The nurse reviewed my paperwork and we went over my medicine and equipment to make sure they understood my needs. We then continued to my cabin and I was introduced to the rest of the campers in my cabin. Now the fun could begin!”
“On a typical day my counselor helps me get dressed up in the costume for that day’s theme and transfers me to my wheelchair to start the day.”
“Breakfast is around 8:30am, so my counselor and I go to the dining hall to select my food and then they assist me. After breakfast, we gather at the flagpole for the flag raising ceremony and to sing camp songs.”
“Next, we split into teams and play wheelchair soccer with a giant soccer ball. It felt great to be part of a team and participate in a sport activity that I seldom get to do. The counselors cheered us on and motivated us to score goals!
After soccer we got a chance to complete against the other cabins in a game of Minute to Win It. I had to balance a popsicle stick in my mouth as my counselor tried to stack five dice on the end of it before the other team. It was exciting to watch all the silly things we had to do in under a single minute. Even if we were struggling, everyone was very supportive and just asked us to try our best.”
“After lunch, we did science experiments and made ooblek, a gooey substance made from cornstarch and hot water. We put it in a cup and laughed as we squeezed the ooblek and it made farting noises. This turned into an all-out battle between the counselors as a rainbow of ooblek was thrown threw the air.
Next, it was time for swimming so my counselor helped me get changed into my bathing suit and we headed for the pool. I used my hoyer lift to transfer to a shower chair, and depending on the camp, the pool has a ramp or a lift to get into the water. I got a chance to stretch and move freely as my counselor held me and helped me swim around the pool. We had water toys and noodles that we played around with and shot water out of. When it was time to get out, we went back to the cabin to shower and get ready for dinner.”
“After dinner, as the sun was starting to set, we all made the short trek to the campfire in the woods. We got a chance to roast marshmallows and eat s’mores as we sang campfire songs and told funny stories. We all started to open up and talked about all the fun things we had done on our first day of camp. I felt a huge sense of camaraderie and acceptance knowing I was not alone with my disability.
I went to bed that night excited for the next day and glad that I had chosen to go to Camp Promise again.”