Saturday, June 7, 2014

Third Grade Campout

Elena's school has an overnight camping trip every year for the third graders.  This year, it was almost 50 kids.  I can't say enough how great these young people are.

I went as an overnight chaperone; it was unspoken, but understood, that I would be there mostly to help Elena.  There were plenty of other parents there, and almost everyone knows us (Elena is hard to miss).

Camping is not an easy task for us; Elena can't carry her gear, she requires extra help, and is slow on difficult terrain.  But she loves it.  I love that she loves it.  This site has cabins and bathrooms, which was a huge bonus for me.  But it rained A LOT.

The kids had a great time despite the weather.  They played all sorts of tag/chase games (not a good fit for Elena), had board games, crafts, and general outside time when not structured with school activities.  Elena's favorite was dissecting owl pellets--hers actually had a very large rodent skull, and she was super excited to show and tell us all about it!

I arrived in the late afternoon (after everyone had been there a few hours).  I dressed Elena in her Muddy Buddy outfit--since she's prone to falling in slippery/uneven terrain, and it's waterproof.  She loves it, as it basically gives her permission to get as messy as possible.  The only wet part of her was her shoes--a big difference from her waterlogged classmates (and other chaperones, including me).

Rainy Day Action Wear!


The evening activity, after dinner, revolved around the campfire--which, amazingly, did take place thanks to SB keeping the firewood dry during the rain.  Prior to the fire start, the students were put into groups to think of a name for themselves and perform a skit.  I loved them all--they were very creative, and was pleased how happy Elena was to be in her performance!  Earlier in the day each student drew a name of a classmate; they made a bracelet for them, and had to write something (positive things) about that person.  There was a campfire ceremony where the kids read aloud their message about a classmate.  We sang songs and made s'mores.

Pre-Campfire Conga Line

Throughout the day and into the next, Elena was tired; her stance was poor most of the time.  I had a log for her to sit on, or I knelt beside her and she used me as a chair.  She wasn't the only one; there were a lot of yawners, and I was actually quite comforted when Q fell asleep during the bracelet ceremony, sprawled all over his dad.  When nine o'clock rolled around, the girls in our cabin fell asleep fast.

We had a fabulous time.  These kids are amazing--it is obvious they care about each other.  I am always surprised by this.  I shouldn't be--it's a discredit to Elena's classmates, educators, and their families.  Maybe in a world where I hear about so much bullying on the news, or emails where inclusion is a constant fight, it's hard to believe our experience is real.  That's a testament to this school, staff, students, parents, and neighbors--a good reality check.  Thanks everyone!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Elena's alignment doesn't look too bad to me. Yes one foot looks tighter than the other but her spine looks rather good considering the conditions. I don't think you need to worry too much. I had a very similar experience in grade school as Elena and have the same type of CP as her. What I see is that these disability rights activists definitely do not give able bodied people enough credit and tend to turn them into a enemy which they are not. I hope the wonderful experiences Elena has at this age show her how to respect able bodied and disabled people alike with all sorts of opinions like it taught me. Elena has gotten quite tall! She is growing into a beautiful person. Perhaps Elena would like theater when she is older if she likes doing skits. Disabled actors and theater groups do exist across the country.