“I first learned about Pine Tree Camp from a TV segment,” says Amy Judson.
My son doesn’t really watch TV but he was stuck to it. It really caught his attention.”
It caught her attention too, and she picked up the phone and called. That was 15 years ago and Bradley has been going to Pine Tree Camp ever since.
“I talked with them about my concerns.” Bradley is non-verbal and was having a lot of seizures. His food requirements were also a lot to manage. She was uncomfortable with him going alone.
That’s when she learned about Pine Tree Camp’s family cabins, which meant she could be at camp with him; allowing her to be there to stay tuned in to what Bradley was comfortable with and help take care of his unique needs.
“Cabin 6 Session 5 has now become a reunion. The family members who come and stay all know each other and we network and talk about experiences we’re having and share information about services and what’s working and not working for us at home.”
As Bradley has gotten older and his seizures have lessened, it’s easier for Amy to be able to step back while at camp. More and more, she’s able to say goodbye to him in the morning and not see him again until bedtime.
“It’s become a week away for me too. I like to go down by the water and read a book or socialize with the other parents. Mentally, it’s like a cleansing.”
Bradley has made a lot of friends who he looks forward to seeing each summer.
“It’s his happy place where he just gets to be Bradley.”
Her advice to parents is to take that first step and go for a visit.
“It’s easy to want to protect your child, but they need their place and time, so let them enjoy the time they can have. Take baby steps if you need to, but trust the Camp.”