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
Camp MOST (Miles of Smiles for Teens) is Easter Seals Greater Houston’s three-day overnight retreat for teens with cerebral palsy. Camp MOST and Easter Seals’ Transition Program teamed up to create four jam sessions, group sessions for learning and reflection. The four topics covered self esteem; understanding realistic vs. unrealistic expectations and exploring options; conflicts and setbacks; and envisioning the future. Great group chats were had, and they didn’t stop when the sessions ended- you could hear the teens still talking about the topics around the table at mealtimes!
Ever wonder who our Camp MOST teens are or what they’re like? Here’s a glimpse, in their own words:
What are you good at?
- Writing & reading
- Making friends
- Art & being sassy
- Swimming & running
- Making conversation
- Expressing my opinion
- Riding horses
- Video games
- Making people laugh
What are your goals and ambitions?
- Get stronger physically
- Lower my school stress
- Be the best person I can be
- Publish a book
- Continue to go to school and work
- Work hard in school
- Go to college and move out
- Finish college
- Express myself
- Do well at Rodeo
- Transfer to a 4 year college, get a degree, and become a web designer
- Walk across the stage at graduation (from a camper who uses a wheelchair)
What makes you strong?
- My spirit to get back up
- My kindness
- Having a good heart
- Being myself
- The people who love me
- My work ethic
- My sense of humor
- The support and encouragement I get from friends on social media
My future is bright because…
- I’m going to try my best in life
- I’ll be graduating soon
- I do amazing at school
- My positive attitude
- My family and friends support me
- I’m me
- I’m talented
- I’m going to prom with a pretty girl
- I work hard, I don’t give up, and I don’t feel sorry for myself
Special thanks to Jacquelyn Miller, Easter Seals Greater Houston’s Ready to Achieve Mentoring Program (RAMP) Coordinator/Transition Coordinator, for adapting the curriculum for Camp MOST, and to Amy Burgdorf for facilitating the jam sessions.
Megan Fry is an amazing 17 year old girl. She has been part of the Easter Seals Greater Houston family for over 10 years. She has the mind and the personality of a typical developing teenage girl. She loves art and has her own website, Just My Eye, that showcases her creations. One of Megan’s many unique qualities is that she was born with cerebral palsy, with an end result of being nonverbal and using a wheelchair to maneuver around. You need to be careful because she drives her chair around very fast! She communicates and shows off her big personality by using a Tobii. The Tobii is a device that allows Megan to use her eyes to pick out her words which are then shared through the speaker.
Over the years, Megan has attended our summer camps, participated in Family Day Out, received In-Home Respite, and participated in our BridgingApps program. Her family has participated in our Lil’ Rustler Rodeo night with the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, used a Respitality weekend, participated in our Walk With Me at the Houston Zoo event and our Hats Off to Mother’s Luncheon. We were fortunate to have Megan as our summer intern this past year. She created and distributed our Easter Seals Montgomery County newsletter. Megan is currently participating in our Family Day Out program as a Junior Director. She is amazing with our clients and our families.
Megan is a true success story and ambassador for Easter Seals Greater Houston. Megan and her mom even went on speaking engagements last year to represent Easter Seals during the United Way campaign. She has received services and continues to give back to our community. We can’t wait to see what the future holds for Megan because we know there is nothing she can’t accomplish!
Kristie Carlisle, Respite Program, Easter Seals Greater Houston
Check out Megan’s dad’s post about how assistive technology helped him connect with his daughter here!