Part 9: Camps for Deaf/Hard of Hearing Children
24 February 2019
I have the pleasure of being a member of the Richland Sertoma Club, a service organization with a focus on children and adults with hearing loss. One of our big projects is sending children who are deaf or hard of hearing to Camp Sertoma. Camp Sertoma is located on the Clemson Outdoor Lab in Pendleton, SC.
This Saturday, the Richland Sertoma Club-along with three other local clubs, had the 2nd annual Camp Sertoma interest meeting. Sending a child away to camp is hard! Sending a child who is deaf or hard of hearing away to camp--WOW! As my friend, Jocelyn Ross from SC Hands and Voices says, “The first time she went to a camp, I was in the fetal position crying. But when she came home she was stronger and more confident in herself and I am so glad that she had the experience.”
At our camp interest meeting, I had the responsibility of asking the experienced campers “Why camp?” Over and over the kids said, because there are others like me. I am not the only one with hearing aids. When I said, “What did you say?” people repeat what they said instead of saying, “Never mind,” which is what I face every day.
A huge part of #SelfAdvocacy is giving your child/student the opportunity to be independent. It is probably harder to be the parent during this time, but a camp for other kids who are deaf and hard of hearing is a safe first step.
Camp can be:
A place for deaf and hard of hearing children to make friends like them
A place to build skills (and maybe hobbies) that give a child the feeling of empowerment
A place to have a (SAFE) separation from parents to build confidence
A place to try things that aren’t available during everyday routines
A place to see adults who are deaf and hard of hearing--role models!
A place to let mom and dad have a moment together, while not focused on therapies!
And so much more!
We are a little early this year, but here is the first draft of 2019 summer camps for deaf and hard of hearing children in SC. Please reach out and let us know if you are having difficulty connecting with camp people and/or difficulty letting this happen.