Thursday, August 12, 2010

Rainbow Express

Each year a local church sponsors a week-long camp for children with special needs. This was Ben's 4th year attending Rainbow Express. What makes this camp so different from others is that it is planned through the youth ministry at the church. The teens of the church coordinate all the details, activities, serve as the counselors, and prepare a new puppet show each day. The adults in the church serve as nurses and additional staff. Many take their week of vacation to volunteer at this camp.

Max (Buddy), Ben and Rachel (Counselor)
Over 100 campers attended this year. Each camper is paired with a teenage counselor, and some campers also have a Buddy, a peer who has typical abilities. Ben's counselor was Rachel, a rising freshman in college. Ben's buddy was Max, a another super-cute six-year old redhead.

It really is impossible to describe how wonderful this camp is for everyone who participates, volunteers or parents a child who attends. I do know that Ben meets these strangers on Monday and by Friday, a loving bond is built. At the final performance on Friday, several people I have never met stopped by to say hello to Ben, give him hugs and let me know what a cool kid he is, as if I didn't already know.

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