Like every parent, I have always wanted my son to be happy.
But life isn’t easy for my boy.
The handfuls of letters that diagnose his hurdles - LD, ADHD, ASD and CAPD - don’t often help people understand or support him.
Even after the reports, the meetings, the plans and special programs at school to explain our son, we’ve had too many phone calls starting with: “Out of nowhere, he did this.”
So summer comes as a relief.
But still, it brings different challenges.
Finding the right fit for a summer program that suits a complex kid is a Herculean task.
Programs with low-functioning children leave my son feeling stigmatized, and programs with inadequate support set him up for failure, with every stumble adding another dent to his self worth.
But you keep trying, because summer camps should help kids be happy.
What fortune that this summer, we tried Camp Kirk.
I knew from the consideration that director Erica Coutts took with our application, interview, and thoughtful responses to my many questions, that my son would be well cared for.
What I could never have predicted was the profound experience he would have at camp – the fun, the sweet joy of friendship and belonging, the richness of community, and real personal growth.
And the happiness.
He was so happy, so proud and excited by all that he had done at Camp Kirk, that he didn’t mind our late arrival to pick him up. He even felt conflicted about going home.
It would be hard to overstate how much Camp Kirk did for my son.
He points to his wall and pole climbing with justifiable pride, given his fear of heights.
And he still lights up when retelling tales of camaraderie, snuggles with Henry the dog, and the big-hearted support of his counsellor Ellie.
I can’t wait for next summer to come and see what wonderful things come my son’s way at Camp Kirk.
The Taylor Family