Whoever didn’t already know Butch when he arrived at Pine Tree Camp this summer certainly knew him by the time he left.
“He’s very social and loves to mingle with people,” said his sister, Joan. “He never forgets a name or a face. He meets you once and that’s it. He will always remember who you are.”
Butch is 65 years old and has been coming to Pine Tree Camp for over 20 years.
This July, Butch’s family got to see first-hand what Pine Tree Camp means to him. Four generations of his loved ones shared a cabin together for an unforgettable Family Recreation Weekend.
“We’ve dropped my uncle off at camp every summer for a long time,” his niece Alyson recalled. “He’s always so excited and happy when he goes but he’s not very verbal so he’s never been able to articulate why it’s so special to him. Being there in person to see his excitement was a very emotional experience for me. He’s getting older and moving slower than he used to. The counselors were so accommodating and made sure he could participate in everything he wanted to do. He was really comfortable. You could tell he felt right at home.”
His sister agrees. “We got to see everything and we were blown away.”
Butch tried everything. From making tie dye, to taking aim in the archery pavilion, to boating and riding an adaptive bike.
“Being able to ride a bike is not something he can normally do,” Alyson continued. “All the bikes are adaptive and since he can’t pedal with his feet, he got try a hand pedal bike and he loved it.”
The freedom and independence Butch experiences at Pine Tree Camp is something he carries home with him as well.
“He’s just a totally new person when he goes to camp,” Joan said. “He’s very independent when he’s there, then when he’s home if he can do something on his own, he will. And if he needs help, he’ll ask for it.”
Being at Pine Tree Camp together as a family was also a great opportunity for Alyson’s children to get to connect with kids of all abilities.
“My kids have grown up with Uncle Butch and, for us, being around people with different abilities is not a big deal. A younger camper really connected with my two boys and they hung out together all weekend. It was really sweet and it made me feel good as a mom.”
Pine Tree Camp’s Family Recreation Weekends include a cabin, meals and participation in specially developed day and evening programs. For more information or to register please visit this link.