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.
You can hear the ball rolling down the alley, the pins fall, and a cheer from a group of friends. They are frequent visitors of AMF Windern Lanes, meeting up at the lanes on most 1st and 3rd Saturdays of the month throughout the year. Adult Bowling is a great tradition being upheld by a special group of Easter Seals Greater Houston‘s Adult Program, one that is rare and highly valued by both participants and volunteers.
Across the United States, especially in Texas, services for individuals with disabilities are shockingly sparse once they turn 18. Easter Seals Greater Houston recognized this need and created opportunities for adults with disabilities to live, learn, work and play in our community. Easter Seals Greater Houston offers two Adult Programs on Mondays and Wednesdays. These programs are free to the adults and offer activities such as yoga, painting, self defense, crafts, cooking, field trips, sporting events, and much more! Another popular program is Easter Seals Greater Houston‘s Adult Bowling Program that allows for program partipants to play 3 games for only $5. These Saturdays offer them another opportunity to connect to one another and the community. The Adult Bowling Program is equally loved by our incredible volunteers.
One of our great volunteers shares that:
“Being able to put a smile on our adult client’s faces is so rewarding. Bowling and a social outing is something they do not get to do regularly, and knowing that I am making their day better by helping them bowl, be out in the community, seeing friends is such a great feeling. Our clients are so happy when they are done bowling, and they are what make this project so fun for me. I love seeing how excited my friends get when they get a strike or how competitive they can be when bowling with their friends. My favorite memory from bowling is when Robert almost got a turkey (3 strikes in a row). He was so excited, and I loved knowing that I had contributed to his happiness. Easter Seals Greater Houston Adult Bowling Program on Saturdays is such an easy way to make a difference in someone else’s life and such a fun way to spend my Saturday.”
If you are interested in partipating in or volunteering for our Adult Bowling Program, please contact Donald LeMoine at 713-838-9050 ext. 310 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sara Padon, Easter Seals Greater Houston, Adult Bowling Program Volunteer
Dear Carolina & Juana,
Because Easter Seals Greater Houston’s Camp Smiles changed my life so much I feel I need to let you know how 4 years ago, my first year, you had to convince my mom & dad to let me come to camp at all. My parents tried to find every reason possible that I shouldn’t be allowed to come and told Christine & Betsy why it would be better for me to stay home. All they would say to my parents was, “No problem – we can handle it.” My mom told me she cried every day because she missed me so much the first year I was at camp – ridiculous, right?!?!
Fast forward 3 years and I’m now having to say “see you later” to my Camp Smiles family… My mom is crying for a different reason this year – she knows I have met 2 of the most important people – you two, Carolina & Juana – who have been my counselors every year I’ve been here. Both of you have helped me become more confident in who I am. You have given me a reason to be happy every summer because I know you accept me for who I am and make me feel understood and important. You have become more like big sisters – a part of my family – more than just camp counselors. And even though I won’t be back at Camp Smiles again as a camper I’m praying our paths continue to cross forever. You are two of the most amazing people and I hope all of your dreams come true.
Thank you to every friend I’ve made and every counselor who took the time to get to know me at camp. I’m better for having all of you in my life. I love you all and am grateful for all of you!
Anna, Camp Smiles Camper, Easter Seals Greater Houston