We reached out to a few parents of Camp E-aster Seals campers to find out what they thought of our virtual camp program. Here is what Jonathan’s dad, Peter, had to say:
Jonathan hasn’t had a lot of contact with peers in the past year—and he doesn’t have many close peers, let alone friends—so the ability to chat with people other than us is so important. He probably was a little overeager to chat at first, but he’s reigning in his oversharing. The Easter Seals staff is so understanding, patient, and diplomatic.
The camp not only helps him socialize, but it helps him learn the rules of socialization. Just before and during camp week when he’s not doing camp activities, he’s constantly talking about it, or planning and reviewing his schedule. His electronic calendar is packed with all of the events. (Sometimes he even wakes at 3 in the morning to talk to himself about it!) Camp gives Jon an exciting place in the world. Sometimes he’s actively participating, sometimes he chooses not to, but just watches, “being respectful,” as he adds.
The benefits [of virtual camp] are massive for us. There’s only so much socialization and conversation a parent can teach. We’ve always been here for him, so our communication with him is on a more intimate, but less descriptive level, so his ability to chat with peers and counsellors and get response and feedback is so important, if he can’t be there in person. Also, any activities that take him away from the daily routine—especially those that don’t require parents to be there to assist (which we are absolutely willing to do)—are very freeing and contribute to his sense of independence.
When asked what Jonathan’s favourite thing about virtual camp is, Peter responded, “Jonathan loved the live, interactive hangout games—the zoomed-in game, the trivia game too. The live animal meetup was very popular too. He loves to sing the well-known, many times sung camp songs at the virtual campfire as well.”
Learn more about Easter Seals Ontario’s remote and virtual camp program here. Registration for 2021 summer sessions opens on June 14, 2021.