“Can Lucy come over to play?” “Lucy, do you want to dance?” “Wow. Lucy is cool!” Those are words every parent wants to hear about their child. Lucy’s mom wasn’t sure she could make that happen for her 11-year-old daughter, but she decided this was the summer to try. Recently, Lucy’s family met to ask each other the question, “What do we want for Lucy?” And they all answered the same thing: They wanted her to have friends. They wanted her to be included.
At camp, Lucy stood out from the crowd. The kids were very curious, asking questions about her feeding tube and her wheel chair. “Everyone wanted to know about Lucy. She was one of the popular kids!” her mom said.
Lucy had the opportunity to be the center of attention, and be in the center of the room. During an adapted music activity, Lucy “conducted” the room in loud and quiet music with leg movements. She got to be in charge of others by “giving the monster cramps” in a drama activity.
“The great thing about this camp,” Lucy’s mom said, “is that kids who are normally the “helpees” got to be the “helpers” with Lucy. It changed the dynamic for everyone.” One camper, Jason, talked to his family all summer about his new friend Lucy. They live in two different school districts in different parts of town, but now have a budding new friendship.
Lucy’s mom admits that, at first, she was unsure if camp was right for Lucy. There were concerns about her mobility, and her health issues. But they decided it was time, and what resulted was “an unprecedented first summer of adventure”, she said. After two weeks at camp, Lucy ended up one of the “cool kids”, with a full dance card and a couple of playdates. “We’re now calling it her ‘Summer of Friends'”, her mom said.