CHAMP camp—a week-long program for participants with autism— was our most demanding camp yet, but also the most rewarding. Participants ranged in age from 4 to 31, but all came to camp with boundless excitement for the day’s activities.
We started the week with horseback riding and bowling at El Jebowl. 4-year-old Giles had never ridden a horse before, but quickly fell in love with the fast “trot.” His laughter filled the whole arena, and soon everyone—including the other participants—was smiling too.
Throughout the rest of the week, spirits were high despite rain and sleet. Whitewater rafting was a particular highpoint. Eliot had not liked rafting the last time he tried it, but within minutes he was standing at the bow of the raft welcoming the spray of water on his face and pointing out the oncoming waves. In the middle of the trip, Charlie erupted in squeals of laughter. A huge grin split his face. At first reluctant to put on his life jacket, he was now having the time of his life. Towards the end of he trip, the dark storm clouds that had been gathering all afternoon exploded in a shower of hail and freezing rain. Though cold and wet, all the participants were excited about how brave they and been and how they could not wait to go rafting again.
Every week, and every participant is a new adventure, and I am constantly learning right along with my buddy.