Published on July 20, 2014
Easter Seals’ Camp Challenge in Sorrento, FL: Easter Seals’ Camp Challenge in Sorrento, FL Tara Miller [email protected] 7/20/2014 EEX4070 – Teaching Exceptional Students Camp Challenge: Camp Challenge Camp Challenge is owned and operated by Easter Seals Florida. The camp has 63 acres and is located in Sorrento, FL. It opened its doors in 1961 and is the only camp that serves adults and children with special needs; they serve people with special needs from 6 years old to life. The camp has a shallow pool with a ramp, a petting farm, an arts and crafts facility, along with many other activities for all the campers to enjoy. The camp accommodates every camper’s individual need. “Camper is King” is the motto! The goal of the camp is not to change anyone’s behavior, but for them to have fun and be themselves! Engagement Activities: Engagement Activities I was able to complete my service-learning through arts and crafts! I completed my Service Learning July 7 th -July 11 th everyday from 9am-12pm. During that time, I was able to teach arts and crafts to every camper. Arts and crafts is a way for people to express themselves, and people with disabilities are no different! Monday we created necklaces and drawings with colorful sand, Tuesday we made necklaces and bracelets with beads, Wednesday we tie dyed t-shirts, Thursday we made tutus and pirate accessories, and Friday the whole camp participated in an Olympic relay! Participant Demographics: Participant Demographics Camp Challenge serves campers from 6 years old to life. They consider age by the person’s cognitive age. Every week they serve a different age range. The week I was there, they hosted 40 campers and they had campers from 6 years old to the cognitive age of 18. The oldest camper there was physically 27 years old. The children at the camp face many different challenges including: cerebral palsy, down syndrome, ADD, ADHD, bipolar, seizure disorders, and many times a combination of a 2-3 of these challenges. Service in Action: Service in Action Perceptions of Differences: Perceptions of Differences Initial thoughts and feelings: nervous and excited Thoughts now: proud and understanding Experiences with the most impact: Connections to Teaching Exceptional Children : Connections to Teaching Exceptional Children Through service-learning, I was able to understand how to adapt t eaching t echniques. Through service-learning, I was able to understand how to accommodate the learner. Through service-learning, I was able to understand how to be patient and listen to the camper’s wants and needs. I think I learned more patience and understanding. Every person has the ability to create something wonderful. As a future educator, I will remember this experience and know that everyone has the ability to achieve, you just need patience and understanding to help them achieve it. Civic Engagement: Civic Engagement As soon as I began working with Easter Seals’ Camp Challenge, I began looking for volunteer opportunities near my home. I was able to sign up with the city of Altamonte Springs and have already completed 7 volunteer hours with them and I intend to service-learn as much as I can! Volunteering is important for the community and for yourself. Helping others is a wonderful gift and I encourage everyone to do so. Students of all ages should learn the value of service-learning. In my classroom, I will have opportunities for my students to learn how to give back to the community. Final Thoughts and Reflections: Final Thoughts and Reflections If everyone would volunteer once a month, to any organization that helps others, our world would be a better place. There would be more tolerance for special needs, the homeless, the sick, the elderly, etc. In my classroom, I am going to teach students about giving back to the community. I think this is an important life lesson; most children love helping others, and it’s important to cultivate a basic understanding of human needs. I am really glad I was able to do my service-learning with Easter Seals, it was a positive experience and a gateway for me to become involved in my own community.