Camp Aide

Anand went off to camp happy today; he had a good day yesterday, as he and multiple counsellors told us enthusiastically at pick-up. His aide started with him last week, and though the initial transition was a little rocky, with Anand feeling like the aide was mostly constantly telling him what to do, over the course of a week, they seem to have worked out a better rhythm.

Honestly, I doubt he’ll need the aide for long — a week or two is probably enough to help Anand through the new camp structure. (He’s in the second of two 4-week sessions now). He has a hard time with transitions, and with following new rules, especially if there are a lot of them, and if they seem inconsistent to him. He wants to argue, which the counsellors rarely have time for.

The camp counsellors overall are sweet, but young, inexperienced, and harried. I was in high school when I taught a summer session of fifth graders, and while I remember coping reasonably well with the occasional crisis (there was one *dramatically* bloody knee), I certainly didn’t get any training back then in how to support kids with atypical physical / emotional / mental needs. That’s probably improved, but still, it’s a lot for teens who are also getting the kids for just a few weeks — not much time to get to know individual needs, or learn the best strategies for teaching / managing the group.

Mostly, I’m thinking about how little it takes to make it possible for Anand to be a fully-integrated, happy, camp member. The aide is a tremendous help — and expensive, so I’m very glad we live in a wealthy enough area that our property taxes give the Park District enough resources that they can do this; I’m very aware this isn’t available for all kids. But even without an aide, mostly what he needs is a little time, understanding, and patience.

Which, honestly, I think we could all use more of.


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