Today was the Monster’s first day of camp.
He’s used to riding the bus – he’s done so all year to school, and the drive to camp is about the same time (perhaps a little longer). This will be the first time he’s gone all day to camp on a five-day-a-week basis, and the first time he’s riding a real school bus without a five-point harness.
We did get to the camp for orientation on Thursday, if only to get him accustomed to the place and to aclimate ourselves to the idea of his going off for the summer.
Camp Milldale is the JCC’s day camp in this area, separate from the “Noah’s Ark” program that’s run at the JCC itself. The wife went there as a child – I grew up elsewhere, but went to a similar camp – so we both had some recollections of what it had been like for each of us and what we would expect to find for him.
In this case, Milldale has a good special needs inclusion program. The Monster is paired with a one-on-one and otherwise integrated into a regular group for his age-group. In his case, the senior counselor is a teacher in the public schools, and his one-on-one is a high school student who spent last summer as a similar shadow for another child. The one-on-one seems very nice (if young!) and seems very much in tune with trying to find what works best for getting the Monster to have a good summer. The camp is also going to be providing his ESY services, and the director for special needs has been very communicative with us about trying to make sure that everything is planned out in advance.
Most of our concerns fall into the same general range that a lot of parents in our boat probably have: Is the one-on-one going to get him to focus and stay with the group activities? Is he going to learn to swim? Is he going to drink enough water (since he doesn’t like plain water)? Will he eat his lunch? How many accidents is he going to end up having before the aide can figure out what his signal for needing to go is?
It’s only thirty-nine days of camp, but we’ll see how it goes…