We’ve been in Sacramento for the last few days picking our oldest up from CampQuest and visiting my BIL in his great downtown sacramento neighborhood.
Saturday we visited CampQuest up at the Yuba river and can’t say enough great things about the camp and it’s staff. Our son gave it two giant thumbs up and all of his toes up too! He can’t wait to do this again next year.
Our oldest suffers from SPD (sensory processing disorder) which makes life much more difficult for him. Sounds, bright lights, too much stimuli, new situations all cause him anxiety and can often make him appear socially awkward. We have been seeking therapies for him for the last few years and unfortunately have often come up short and have needed the advice of specialists in the field…which are far and few between.
Before I start this story you have to understand that I am a parent who is very willing to admit and accept my boys’ issues. I don’t pretend that they never step out of line or are never disrespectful. I know they are human and learning and bad choices are sometimes made. This was not one of those situations.
Two summers ago I had sent my oldest to a VBS at our church (we were still practicing christians at the time) and his leader ridiculed him in front of his peers, called him a bad boy, punished him for his “misbehaviors” (his misbehavior was his inability to practice worship songs for more than 30minutes while standing still). She was in so many words telling me to punish him or not bring him back. I went back the next day without my child and told her she was lucky that I was a member of the church and not a member of the non-christian community because I would have wanted to run the other way from her loving god/church. I would never bring my child back to be humiliated by her as she was clearly the individual with the problem. I let her know that she should’ve spoken to me and my child in private if she had a concern and she should recognize that it’s difficult for any child (especially a young male) to stand still for something as boring as worship songs. And because of her inability to show compassion, understanding, creativity and common sense about ridiculing a child especially in such a harsh manner my children would not be finishing out the week at VBS and I then reported her to the head of the department.
Contrast that with this past week at CampQuest. My oldest was in a cabin with all 8 year old boys and his cabin leader was a father of another child in the camp. On parent pick up day the leader kindly pulled us aside and asked us if we had considered that our son may have a sensory processing disorder. He explained to us the difficult situations our son had encountered and his reactions to loud groups, music, and any other type of situation that caused sensory overload. We told him we had been seeking therapy without much success and the cabin leader asked if it would be okay for him to give us information about a possible institute that can help us bring out the best in our son. Turns out the cabin leader’s daughter suffers from SPD too but on a much smaller scale and they had found an institute that fit her with colored lensed glasses. Once they found the right color that calmed her she immediately began improving in her handwriting, reading, and social functioning. During the entire conversation this man was humble, respectful, and understanding of our needs. He never judged our son as bad but saw him as a human needing help.
What a gift! Our son left camp feeling accepted for who he is, stronger in his abilities to be without us, and gifted with loving and caring people who believe much like our family. There was no judgement or condemnation of his inability to be “normal.”
We can’t wait to do this again next year and hopefully become a larger part of the CampQuest community.
Watch out CampQuest in four years we will happily be filling your cabins with four of our freethinking boys! 🙂
- to promote a sense of belonging in the freethought community
- to encourage critical thinking
- to promote respect for others with differing viewpoints
- to provide a safe and fun environment for personal development