Thursday, July 15, 2010

Kamp for Kids

Have you ever had one of those days where you wake up feeling pretty good about yourself? Have you experienced a morning where the conversation you had with someone the night before makes you feel just that much more alive?

That was this morning.

Then I went to the appointment that I nearly forgot last night. Fletcher's camp was putting on a presentation for parents, community leaders and State and local government. Because Fletcher's camp is not your run of the mill summer camp. At Kamp for Kids in Westfield you'll find kids and young adults, some with disabilities, some without. They play together... do crafts... watch movies... spend time in an environment of inclusion.

Fletcher occupies the opposite end of the spectrum from Blythe. Where she is outgoing, he is shy. Where she will speak in front of anyone, he has a deadly case of stage fright.

But where Fletcher shines is one on one and in his refusal to see people as different. He is perhaps the most empathetic child I have ever seen. When the camp was described to me it was my understanding that he would assist one or more of the kids with disabilities. But when I asked him about it, he looked at me like I was nuts.

"We just all play together," he said.

And there it is.

In his mind it was a place to be with other kids. They are kids that are at once different and the same as him. They are children with disabilities that he would help just like he picked up the kids on opposing soccer teams when they fell down.

To Fletcher, the color of one's skin is as irrelevant as their preference of ice cream flavor. A wheelchair is just one of those things that some kids need to get around. He makes me proud of myself and Britton.

The kids put on their skits. They acted out short performances based on some of the movies that they watched in the last two weeks. And as Fletcher more or less hid behind the sign that he'd created for his group, I thought how brave he was for getting up there. Because even though it terrified him, he wanted to be a part of this thing. He wanted to be up there with his new friends.

And I realized that I will never be as good a person as he is right now. But I can live with that... He sets the bar pretty high.


lubahlu said...

You have amazing children...because you're an amazing dad. :)

jojo said...

yikes! this post makes me want to have children. :)

such a good dad post.

Andy said...

It's amazing how something like "perspective" can alter you in so many ways, from the way you see something old like it was new, or the way a child can put the most convoluted and complex thing into the simplest terms. Maybe it's why I prefer talking to kids as opposed to adults most of the time.

Emily Crowe said...

I loved reading about Fletcher here. What a great kid!