A Journey with Love and Laughter

Read about our family as we journey through life as a family, with siblings, school and spina bifida, and lots of fun and laughter along the way!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Easter Seals Camp - Day 1 - The Tour and Intro to Camp

The day finally arrived. Easter Seals Camp here we come!
Kyle ended up not being able to take the time off of work, and luckily my mother-in-law Marie came with me.
We were not really sure what to expect. I knew that it was for kids with physical disabilities, that there would be other families, that we would be in a cabin and sharing with other families, that it would be fun, there would be activities. And it was in London, Ontario.
That was the extent of my knowledge. And the pictures that I posted here.
We arrived and were greeted at the gate.
And again in the parking lot with our very own guide and people to unload the van and take everything to our room.
First off was a check in to the nurse, and hand in our forms.
Katheryn liked sliding around on the floors of the stone house.
Because nothing says 'camping' like floors like these!
Nick had a nice smooth roll around as well
Nick was still a little unsure at first.
But everyone was so cheerful, and called both kids by name all week

Then we went to our room.
4 single beds, tons of room to move around, drawers, and Katheryn picked the bed behind the hospital curtain and was excited she got her own room.
This is our cabin.

We shared the area with 2 other families, we had a back door. There were 3 different washroom rooms. 1 with 4 stalls and a shower, one room with one stall and a bathing table? and a shower, and a final bathroom marked staff, that was open for use. It had a shower in  it as well and I think 1 stall.

We also had a locked cupboard to put our valuables and medications.

And this is our cabin's common room.

We were cabin 3, Orange.

Cabin is a very loose term.
This is what the cabins looked like from the outside. This long building has 5 cabins (I'm assuming exactly like ours), there was a hallway in front of each cabin, and an automatic door outside of each cabin as well. At the end (the right side in the picture) is the dining hall, and where everyone ate.

Then we went for more exploring of the grounds

(Found this map on one of my last days - we got lost a fair amount of the time on our own)

"Come on guys, lets check this place out!"

First we went to the tree house, it was a decent height off the ground

 It had a ramp and a little enclosure with huge beanbag.

We had to drag them away to look at more fun things we were going to do!

There are lots of hills, good think I have some helpers.
We found a games room
And tried everything out.

The kids really liked the ping pong table, except none of us were very good at it (probably why it was so fun - or funny)

But there was still more to explore!
here is the ropes course that looks like a lot of fun (even if I'm a bit terrified of heights). Also a giant swing that pulls you 70 feet in the air and then you let yourself go and you swing down (not even if you pay me a million dollars)


A gym with a rock climbing wall, along with the basketball wheelchairs, there is a stage, and a kitchen in that building as well.

This opens up into a stage area in the back, with stone seats. (Perfect for a talent night...)

And the woods outside were beautiful!

But the tour wasn't done yet!
There is a pavilion with picnic tables, and another little stage

A camp fire.
There is no actual fire, but true to camp form, every night is the 'camp fire' with songs and fun

And finally the sledge hockey rink (or roller-sledge hockey), which is beside the archery course.

To finish it off, there is also a pool.
Which brings us back to the main cabins.

And once the tour was over, Camp could begin!

There were stations of games and fun things to do to get started

Put everyone into the camping mood.

Because I wasn't really sure what to expect (and had a hard time finding out - which is why I'm trying to make this very detailed) we hadn't really talked about camp with the kids.
Katheryn started to feel a little left out.
There were lots of kids in wheelchairs and Katheryn took every opportunity to use Nick's chair.
I wasn't sure how to handle it. But as long as Nick didn't need it then I let her use it.

To try to make Katheryn feel that the camp was not very one-sided to her brother we had talked about what a sibling is. That this camp is for children like Nick who need to work extra hard to do things like walking, but that is also for the brother or sister (or sibling). That there would be other siblings like her who have a brother or sister who use things to walk or talk or need extra help.

So I tried to stress this with Katheryn, that there were kids who were just like her as well. And so I didn't want her to feel that she was being left out.

Dinner time was in a big dining room.
Each cabin had 2 tables and the families ate together with our cabin counselors.
It was loud.
Imagine 7 cabins, with 3 families each, estimate 4 people per family, and 5 councilors per cabin as well... (OK lets pull out the calculator) Which puts us at 140 people. I'm not sure if that are the amount of people who actually ate with us every meal, but there were also kids who made different sounds that the kids weren't used to, as well.
They behaved very well. But Nick was not having anything to do with eating.

Breakfast and lunch everyone eats together, but for dinner the kids and counselors eat and then the kids go for some kid-only time while the parents eat. Then we all meet at camp fire.
In theory
When you aren't directionally challenged like Marie and I are.
We eventually found camp fire. Caught the very end of it, after recreating the tour and going to the completely wrong end of the camp first.

At the end of the night we were all exhausted.
I was trying to figure out how to do Nick's 1hr nightly routine without missing out too many activities. There was a parent-only activity - a parent social that I didn't go to. Instead we tried to go to bed early, after a little bit of story time.

That was first day of camp

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