Stephen has Down syndrome and has always lived with his parents. When he first attended Pine Tree Camp, it was the first time they’d been separated in 27 years.
“I was worried about him missing me,” recalled his mother, Anne. “I wasn’t concerned about his safety or well being and I knew he’d have a good time. It was the first time we’d ever been separated so I thought he’d have a hard time without me.”
That was 10 years ago and, at 37 years old, Stephen hasn’t missed a single year at Pine Tree Camp since.
“It’s a nice break for him. It’s a nice break for all of us,” she continued. “As much as I want to give him free rein, I’m always right there to do things. I like not having to worry because I know he’s in a safe environment and that he’s loved and well taken care of. He can be independent and enjoy that freedom.”
Stephen loves anything to do with the performing arts and he takes part in every aspect of that program when he’s at Pine Tree Camp.
“He has absolutely no stage fright,” said Anne. “He’s all about singing and dancing in the talent show.”
He really enjoys helping other campers and has been so successful doing so that the counselors gave him the responsibility of assisting with the performing arts program.
His mother said, “He wants to help when he’s there so he’s allowed to have some responsibility. He was made an Honorary Counselor last year and given a counselor t-shirt to wear. This year, he wore that t-shirt the first day of camp. He knows it’s a privilege and it gives him a great sense of pride to be able to do that.”