Ahoy from Camp MOST (Miles of Smiles for Teens)! This past weekend, Easter Seals Greater Houston hosted Camp MOST– a weekend retreat for young adults with cerebral palsy and other neurological disorders. Our theme this spring was Anchors Aweigh- we had nautical decorations, activities, and snacks! With 14 amazing campers and 17 amazing counselors we set sail for a fun filled weekend!
On Friday, the campers docked at Camp For All around dinner time. That night, we had an awesome Amazing Race activity and then a campfire complete with s’mores, skits, and some campfire songs. On both Saturday and Sunday Camp MOST hit some rough waters- it rained off and on both days. Despite the rain, our camp had the MOST fun! We got to participate in canoes, fishing, photography, archery, paintball, ZIPLINING, and most of all our amazing Jam Sessions.
In our Jam Sessions, we talked about awesome topics related to transition into young adulthood, and what that looks like as a teen with a disability. In the first Jam Session we discussed how independence doesn’t mean doing it all alone. Topics included learning to speak up and self-advocate during IEP meetings and college advising meetings. Later in the day campers were asked to “Set Your Course!” and each shared what they want and what they need to do to achieve this goal.
Each camper ended the weekend with fantastic memories, new friends, and a plan to set their course in order to achieve their dreams! All aboard for success!
“I want to figure out where I am in life and who I truly am. Step 1: Don’t listen to the negative talk/self-talk”
Mackenzie Richard, Camp Coordinator, Easter Seals Greater Houston
Chelsea is a 22 month old Easter Seals Greater Houston client who was born with a very rare gene disorder, GATAD2B syndrome, which results in the “loss of function”. There are approximately only 11 cases known worldwide. Characteristics of this disorder affect all areas of development from cognitive delay, low muscle tone, speech and feeding delays to sensory processing delays.
Chelsea has been in the Easter Seals Greater Houston Early Childhood Intervention Infant Program (ECI) for the past 14 months. She receives physical and occupational therapy along with specialized skill training. Chelsea lives at home with her Mom, Brittany, her Dad, Cody, and her 3 year old big brother, Bradley. With the help of ECI therapists and family support Chelsea has made huge strides over the past 14 months. Mom stated “When we first started ECI services Chelsea was 8 months old she could not even hold her head up. I couldn’t carry her like a typical baby. ECI has helped Chelsea development in ways I never knew possible.” Chelsea is currently able to roll, sit on her own for extended period of time, hold her own bottle, beginning to finger feed herself and is able to stand at her couch with supervision to interact with her big brother! Mom stated “I’m more confident now that ECI providers have taught me the skills to help Chelsea’s development. With the help of ECI my daughter is coming along great!”
Chelsea’s Early Childhood Intervention therapist shares that Brittany has become a huge advocate for her daughter and others who have been diagnosed with GATAD2B syndrome. Brittany has even traveled to Austin to encourage funding for this extremely rare gene disorder. Brittany is a true example of the power of a parent who advocates for their child!
Kimberly Sporrer, Early Childhood Intervention Infant Program, Easter Seals Greater Houston