Day 95: Javier’s StoryPosted: August 31, 2012
‘Javier’ is a 13 year old camper with Down syndrome and a hearing impairment. He communicates minimally, but when he does, he uses basic sign language. Javier has been attending the SumFun program since he was 6 years old.
In prior years, during the five weeks of service, he resisted group activities, and was very shy about interacting with the other campers and counselors. Typically, it was well into weeks four or five before Javier was comfortable enough with the people and the routine to begin to participate and enjoy himself.
This summer, with the expansion to an eight week program, Javier was able to acclimate himself to the camp and still ease into four full weeks of activities. In the 2nd half of the summer, Javier enjoyed cooking activities, arts and crafts, horseback riding, swimming and more in a way that he had never done before. By the end of the summer, he was utilizing sign language to communicate in a more regular manner than he had achieved in prior summers, and he was even using his social skills in an appropriate manner to initiate play with other campers, something the staff had not seen him do in prior years. The additional three weeks of service added in 2011 made a huge difference in the progress that many of the campers were able to achieve during their summer break.