I have some camp memories of my own:
Summer 1984 (6 weeks--July 1 through first week of August): I attended Shady Trails Camp near Northport, MI
, on the shores of Grand Traverse Bay. It was a speech camp--run by the University of Michigan for children with speech impairments. It was an intensive summer-long speech therapy program designed as a camp for children. I have so many fond memories of it that would fill a chapter in a book (which I am writing now). It was my first camp experience. It was in a beautiful setting--woods, the shores of Grand Traverse Bay, a sandy beach to swim at, and great facilities, including a beautiful dining lodge with great views of the bay. My cabin was called Park Avenue, and could sleep a large number of boys along with four counselors, and even had a wood-burning fireplace (great for listening to ghost stories). My favorite activities were arts and crafts, as well as the weekly "out-trips" into the nearby town of Northport and other areas. These out-trips were designed to give us children the opportunity to use our speech skills in public that we were learning in the daily speech therapy sessions. I also had my own camp "job"--being a mail-delivery boy. One of my biggest memories was sleeping outdoors one night and watching the sun slowly rise early the next morning. Awesome! Also, I caught a nice-sized fish once, took him back to camp, named him "George" and kept him in a water-filled tub outside my cabin as a "pet" for the summer! Of course, every day, each one of us campers spent some time in an intensive one-on-one speech therapy session with a therapist from the University of Michigan. There, I really improved my speech--before then, I was barely verbal at all! Sadly, the camp (Shady Trails) does not exist any more, but I still have the audiotape made of my speech by the speech therapist assigned to me! Often, I dig that tape out and listen to my 9-year-old speech from 20 years ago (what a difference from today).
The other camp I attended while a youngster was Camp About Face (during the summers of 1989, 1991, 1992, & 1993). Run by James W. Riley Hospital for Children in Indianapolis, it was designed solely for children with any kind of craniofacial deformities (from cleft lip/palate to full-blown syndromes like Treacher Collins syndrome, which I have). The camp was held at Bradford Woods, a beautiful nature preserve run by Indiana University as a site for all kinds of camping programs under the leadership of Riley Hospital for Children. Lasting a week, each camp session was designed to allow children with facial deformities to get together, have fun with others in the same situation, and have fun and share their lives with each other. We swam, sang, canoed, hiked for miles, and even had an overnight primitive campout one night during the week. We would carry backpacks loaded with camping supplies, hike miles through the beautiful woods to a remote spot, and pitch tents. Also, once during the week, we would have an all-camp picnic on the beachfront and have doctors, nurses, and others come from Riley Hospital, as well as parents, come out and spend that evening with us. Often, doctors and therapists would come out during the week and evaluate our faces, hearing, speech, etc.
As I was a patient at Riley myself, I got to meet my doctors that way outside the clinical environment. I made many friends there. One year (1991), a famous children's author (Jill Krementz) came out to Camp About Face just to interview me and help me write my life story for her book, How It Feels to Live with a Physical Disability, that she was writing that year. All the photos in my chapter were taken there at camp.
I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made... (Psalm 139:14)