Camp Blessing Texas (formerly Camp Barnabas Tx)
February 8, 2011
My son, Quentin, is 13 years old and diagnosed with moderate autism; he talks sometimes but has a severe language disorder. We are very concerned that most people will not understand his requests, his like and dislikes or his somewhat unusual behaviors. For this reason, Q (Quentin) had not spent the night anywhere except with us (his parents and 2 siblings). However, Q is getting older and desires social experiences so when his opportunity came up last summer to attend, I didn't even think about it. I responded, Yes!, sign him up. The next few weeks were difficult though. I had a hard time imagining his staying away from home. I was so very frightened for him, and perhaps myself. Raising Quentin is very hard work, but I had a difficult time letting go. Well, the day came to drop him off and I was nervous; but when I saw the love, enthusiasm, and excitement of the volunteers, my nervousness was calmed. Q happily jumped out of the car....without hesitation! Q has a 6th sense, and I read when he is not comfortable. This was NOT the case. Q was excited and ready for us to leave. The love of God was all throughout the facility and grounds. It felt wonderful there and, as a parent, I knew we were doing the right thing. The second half of this story was the day we returned to pick Q up. I unabashedly cried. Nonstop. I cried so, that I couldn't speak (and that's rare). I tried to say thank you to the volunteers, but I could only weep. I appreciate this opportunity to say what I couldn't say on the day of the Family Program. It was so beautiful. I cried for all of the love and wonderful work of the volunteers. They even provided a picture book show the events during the camp and this is paramount when your child cannot communicate! This program is truly God's work. I had never seen anything like it. I not only cried for the experience provided to our son, but for what Camp Blessing provides for all the youth that attend. A young teen girl, who did not walk, wanted to praise God; so one of the volunteers picked her up and jogged around the facility. She was SO Happy! One young teen volunteer followed us back to our car as we left, she was tearful that her time to volunteer had ended; she was returning home. Isn't that just beautiful? There was not one or two beautiful young people volunteering....it was a whole entire building full of wonderful Christian, God-loving, God-serving people (youth and adults) with hearts bigger than Texas! All of the children with disabilities were smiling, joyous or just present (in there own way). There was NO stigma, no pain, no shame, just love. My son is returning this summer and we are asking family members to help us afford the opportunity. Even though Bro. Elder said to pay what we can, I am asking everyone we know to chip in. My teen daughter is also hoping to volunteer in order to give back to the organization (she volunteers locally as well). I tell others about the program when I have the opportunity. It was the first time our family operated without Quentin at home. We have a very close knit family of 5; but it is good for everyone to have space sometimes I think. I recommend Camp Blessing to families with children of any disability. The volunteers and leaders are truly a blessing to our youngsters. What I learned from this experience is that Q needed it and we needed it too. Thank you, Camp Blessing, and may God continue to bless you to bless others! You have our support and our undying gratitude.
I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...
providing a loving, safe, secure and fun-filled summer camp for my son, Quentin. He had never attended a camp. He made friendships and I hope he continues to attend until he is too old for the program. His wonderful experience is my family's experience. As busy as they must have been, communication was excellent. I may have called at least 4 times and the Elders were understanding and supportive. Thank you.
Ways to make it better...
If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...
I did not experience anything I would change. This was a beautiful experience for our son. I just wish they could secure funding to provide this service to more families.
Client Served & This year I was only a client; hopefully one day I can give back in a more significant way.