“If we can do it, anyone can do it,” said Lauren’s mother, Heidi.
Last year was Lauren’s first time at Pine Tree Camp and it was emotional and bittersweet for her parents, Heidi and Rob. Lauren is 19 but they’d only ever been apart for two nights at a time.
As hard as it was for them to take the leap, “We wanted to try it for her so she could experience camp and independence,” Heidi said. “We want to do this for her.”
Before she went, Heidi and Rob took a tour of Pine Tree Camp.
“Oh my gosh, it’s beautiful,” Heidi recalled. “We walked the entire place and it really helped us to feel comfortable about where she would be staying. We had the opportunity to meet some of the people and it was clear that they were very well trained and passionate about what they do.”
Even still, dropping her off was hard for them.
“The counselors were so welcoming and comforting,” she said. “They had seen parents like us before and knew exactly what to do. They even gave us a schedule of her activities to bring home so we knew her play by play each day.”
Last year, the fear of the unknown was especially difficult for them. This year when she attends camp, they know what to expect, where she is and that she’s in good hands.
“Pine Tree Camp is perfect for her,” Heidi continued. “She’s very social. She loves to be with people. I think it was very beneficial for her to be around more kids who have abilities like her. It definitely helped her to see the other kids and the things they were doing and she got to be like everyone else.”
Both Heidi and Rob strongly encourage parents on the fence to follow through and let their child experience Pine Tree Camp.
“I’d say take the chance because it was just beautiful in the end,” Rob said. “She talks about it all the time. It definitely impacted her life. As scary as it is to let go, you have to let them live too.”