1. It sounds wonderful, but will my child really be able to be
away from us for almost a whole week?
Seven years ago, John B. of St. Helens, Oregon had the same question. Here's what he says now:
"The one common thread of everyone who works at the camp is a marvelous concern for the well-being of their charges. Campers and their counselors bond almost from the beginning. When we bring Sarah to camp and talk about her particular needs, the counselors always listen intently and even take notes. There’s a check-in process that involves checking all medications and how they are to be administered.
"In every picture from camp, Sarah seems to be surrounded by counselors helping her, whether in the swimming pool, on horseback, in a canoe, or even on the rope bridge.
"It’s hard to explain how much going over that stream means to my daughter. She has severe physical limitations, but she goes up there in a harness and pulls herself hand-over-hand the entire length. It takes her over an hour. She’s always talking about it, and showing off pictures. For her, it’s a major accomplishment.
"In seven years of camp, I’ve never heard about a camper being injured. Sometimes campers have problems adjusting, but the vast majority make it all the way through. New surroundings take all of us some adjustment. The test is that most seem to want to come back. The camp finds a way to challenge the abilities of each camper.
"The more she succeeds at camp, the more she is willing to try other things. Camp is respite from hovering parents for Sarah, and a chance for parents to take a break without Sarah always being the focus.
"Kiwanis camp is just a wonderful place. We have faith in the staff and don’t worry about Sarah being up there. Our daughter looks forward to being up there every year, and we look forward to her going. She has a great time, expands her horizons, and we get a break, too. What could be better than that?"
2. Should I call the camp office to tell them about ways to help
my camper have a good experience at camp?
We definitely need to know what will help your camper feel comfortable and confident. Please put as much detail as you can in the application regarding his needs. When you come to camp, you will also have time to speak with the camp nurse and the counselor who will accompany your camper throughout his stay at camp.
If you still feel you need to provide more detail, or you have more questions, please call the camp office. However, keep in mind that after mid-June, the program staff will be at camp, not in the Portland office. At that point, it's best to speak directly to the staff at camp during registration.
3. My camper can't speak. How can she last for six days at
About one-third of our campers cannot speak, most of whom look forward to returning year after year.
If your camper uses a communication system, please bring it to camp and talk to the counselor and staff about how to use it. Also, our counselors can prepare a "picture schedule" of the day's activities and use cards to signal "I need a break" or "I'm hungry," etc.
Please be as specific as possible on your application about how your camper communicates.
4. Can parents go to the Thursday evening program?
Technically, yes. Parents may attend the Thursday evening program with the barbecue, camper skits and music. However, space is limited. Sometimes campers, upon seeing their parents, insist on going home that very hour with them. Other campers are so involved in the camp experience they barely acknowledge their parents' presence!
5. What time is pick-up?
Pick-up time for all campers is on Friday at 11:00 am.
6. Are applications from campers ever refused by the camp?
Occasionally, yes. We serve a wide range of campers in terms of ages, disabilities, needs and abilities. However, we do not accept campers who, in our opinion, may be a danger to him/herself or others. Please read the eligibility policy before applying.