Yesterday was Jonathan's first day at Extend-a-Family day camp; he'll attend every day right up until the August long weekend. He's been going to EAF summer camp every year since 2009, and it makes a seamless transition for him from school to summertime.
At 9 a.m. we drop Jonathan off at St. Lawrence College, where the summer camp program is held, and he is greeted by his counselors and the other campers. (Yesterday his friends crowded around him, welcoming him to camp; he was a little overwhelmed by it all and tried to hide behind a pickup truck in the parking lot!) Then he spends his day playing games outdoors; doing activities in his classroom like puzzles, crafts, reading, singing, and bingo; and going on outings to places like the splash-pad or swimming pool. We pick him up at 4 p.m., so it is very much like a school schedule. And it's become such a familiar routine now that when we told him on Monday, "Tomorrow you're going to camp at the College," his eyes lit up excitedly and he said, "Swimming pool?" He knew exactly what to expect.
Extend-a-Family is a wonderful organization, providing year-round weekend and school-break programming as well as the summer day camp. There are dozens of programs in town for kids to attend during summer holidays, March Break, and P.A. days, but very few of those programs are geared to children with special needs, so EAF fills a huge void. Many of the counselors return year after year and get to know the campers well, so it really does become like a big extended family. We're so thankful for EAF and how it has become like a home-away-from-home for Jonathan during the summer.
(Jonathan with Sam and Eric, August 2010)