Scotty just graduated from high school and was the final student to go up to the podium to receive his diploma.
“He had been with these kids since kindergarten,” said his mother, Lisa. “Not only did he get a big cheer, he received a standing ovation.”
There wasn’t a dry eye in the house.
“He’s super social and all the kids know him,” she continued. “In the hallways at school he always gives fist bumps and high fives. He loves everyone. It does not matter who you are, he will give you a hug or a fist bump.”
Going to school every day at a place they all knew as a family was one thing. Going away to overnight camp was another thing all together.
“It’s hard to make that decision to send your kid to overnight camp,” she said.
In Scotty’s case it was particularly tough because he is non-verbal and needs support in all aspects of daily living.
“Everyone kept saying how much he would love Pine Tree Camp, but I wasn’t really sure how that would work,” Lisa recalled. “I thought there’s no way he could stay because he needs so much one-on-one support. Then I learned I could go with him and stay together in a Family Cabin.”
That was the game changer for them. Scotty is now 18 years old and has been going to Pine Tree Camp every summer since he was 12.
“The first year we went was amazing. He had an incredible time and it was such a fun experience. I definitely see this as lifelong for him. As long as we can do it, we will. It’s something he looks forward to every year.”
When he’s at camp, Scotty particularly likes walking the nature trail and going down to the beach during swim time. Being at camp has also given him the chance to experience participating in team sports.
Lisa noted, “On his own, he tends to do individual sports like horseback riding, surfing and swimming. At Pine Tree Camp he participates in team activities like kickball and that’s an experience he can take with him to build on and try again somewhere else.”
Having the chance to experience new things like a team sport creates a positive ripple effect which impacts camper’s lives long after camp ends through increased confidence, social skills and the development of new interests that can last a lifetime.
Lisa really likes talking with other parents about all the things Scotty does and she frequently mentions Pine Tree Camp.
“Because I stay there for the whole week, I get to see everything in action and experience first hand how structured everything is and how great all the activities and counselors are.”
Her advice for first timers, who might be worried about how their child will do alone at overnight camp, is to stay in the Family Cabin.
“I think it’s great they offer that option for anyone who is unsure and scared. It’s good to know there are options if you’re unsure about having your child stay overnight. We are so thankful Scotty has the opportunity to experience overnight camp summer camp like his cousins and friends do.”