Camp Shout Out Training and Treatment Program

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Re: I would love to volunteer

From: Kristin Chmela
Date: 17 Oct 2011
Time: 15:15:07 -0500
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Dear Dina, Thank you for your reply. One of the most important things we tried to convey in the training of professionals and students was the importance of valuing the relationship and the interaction between them and their "campers-clients" for the week, both in small and large group interactions. In addition, as trainers we sought to model things for all participants that we wanted the trainees to further understand. There are many examples of interactions and activities that sought to improve self-confidence. For some children, validating their feelings and experiences was important. For others, it was providing them with leadership opportunities at the camp as needed. For others, it was gaining confidence by working on speech modification skills. For one boy in particular, I happened to be involved in an initial session on the first day with him, his parents, and his team of speech-language pathologist and graduate student. We had a conversation and gently pointed out to both parents that their "son" could and needed to have his own "opinion" at camp and that we had time to wait for him to express it. His parents reported astonishment when their son called home for his birthday during camp, at how different his voice sounded, and were also emotional when they came for the final day and saw how he was participating in large group activities by speaking his opinion. Other activities, such as those considered "challenge by choice," such as the high ropes course, the rock wall, and the zip line, also increased self-confidence. We had another camper who was not able to complete the rock wall the first try. He was in tears and very discouraged with himself. By receiving encouragement from other campers as well as trainees and trainers, he decided to try again. He only made it two steps further, but he beat his own personal best. One of the adult participants attempted for about 45 minutes to get to the top of the wall, and he was only 3 steps or so short. He just could not do it, at least not then. What a fabulous thing to model for the campers. They learned so much about persistence and accepting what is in front of us as "good enough" sometimes. There were so many things that happened simultaneously each and every moment of every day, I wish we had enough video cameras around us to capture these things. Best Wishes, Kristin

Last changed: 10/17/11