As most of you know, I send Amanda to Camp Allen in Bedford. Camp Allen is a camp that opened in 1921 as a respite for the blind who came from the Perkins School in Boston. Now, it is open to anyone with a disability. It is owned by the Manchester Lion's Club and the Boston Kiwanis. They hire counselors from all over the world. The staff to camper ratio is either 1:1 or 1:2. The camp has changed alot this year but it still has the old camp buildings. I just spent 10 days there doing the nursing. They moved the nursing office into the main office this year so it was a little different to get used to. But I like the roominess. They are trying to get Extreme Home Makeover to create a big dining hall for the campers. The camp is not spread out too far. It has cabins, a pavilion, screen house, chapel, pool, and this year a tepee. One of the camp directors is from Manchester, England. His mother came to visit and did activities with the kids. Mostly, the activities involved frosting cookies.... And apparently my face. I liked the chocolate better.
She is a lovely person and I really enjoyed her this year. Although I get really tired and miss home terribly, I love Camp Allen because it reminds me of how unique each individual is. I looked out one morning and one of the campers who has Downs Syndrome was in the upper lot with his ear phones and CD player on just dancing away, all by himself. Just being himself. Oh to be that uninhibited! Mel is one of my favorite campers. She is wheelchair bound. She is in her 30's and depends on people totally for her care. Her mind is bright and she is a joy. She is very frail and I worry about her but I can truly say I am the better person for knowing her. Another one of the campers would come up to me and say "my grandma". By the end, he looked at me and said, "bye mama". I just about cried. These people are so sweet...not innocent...but loving and sweet. For some parents, this is the only break they get during the year. The campers have the time of their life, and the parents get a break. This is a win-win situation.