Tuesday, June 14, 2011

My Special Friends

Last week I started my summer job: Camp Fiesta! It really is so much fun and gives me something to do in the summer! Its Monday-Thursday for a few hours in the afternoon. The first day I didn't really know what to expect, but it turned out to be great! Camp Fiesta has 130 "campers" or kids. They have them divided up in many different groups: 4 elementary groups, 2 Junior High groups, 2 High School groups, Self Contain ( all ages, these are the really WILD kids; Alyssa worked with this group), and a group that are in wheel chairs. I am in an Elementary group. We have 12 kids in our group. Some of them have a lot of special needs and others seem normal and I don't know what there doing at a Special Ed camp. My little friend, Andrew, loves to open doors and then watch them shut. Everyday when he is done eating lunch, he heads over to the door, opens it, pushes it all the way back, runs back in the room, and jumps excitedly while it shuts. He has a twin that is at Camp Fiesta too, and he does the same thing! ( His twin is in a different elementary group.) My other friend, Tyson, likes to run around and scream. When ever were in Sports and Games instead of playing kickball, or dodge ball, or baseball, or what ever sport were playing, he runs around and screams. Its his way of getting his energy out, and the other kids are running around and playing the game, and he could care less to play the game so he just runs on his own and screams. ( Its an excited scream.) Jameson likes to take his shoes on and off, then he hands his shoe to you and says " shoe on" we try to get him to keep his shoes on in the first place, but he won't listen and just continues his game of taking his shoe off and then you putting it back on for him. He loves to color though, thats one way to get him to keep his shoes on. All you have to do is say, " Jameson, do you want to color?" then he'll look up at you and say, " Color," in a very cute little voice. Coloring will keep him busy for quite a while, the staff members have decided now to always have crayons and paper for him to color with because he loves to color! He always has his hands over his ears and starts to cry and almost panic when other kids are being too noisy. When Tyson runs around and screams, Jameson puts his hands over his ears and starts getting fussy and will scream. When that happens we either take him to the sensory room or take him outside and let him color. Jessica is very cute and very well behaved. When we were swimming on Monday we pretended we were mermaids. Kim is a little quiet and doesn't like to participate in a lot of the activities. She's happy to just sit in the back and watch the others. We try to get her involved but its a little hard. She loves Sara though ( our head staff for our group) and always wants to be by her. But one time when we were in the game room I was playing Ker Plunk with her and it was time to clean up and she said, " Sara can't boss me around." Scott is so very sweet!! He behaves very well! Everyday at lunch he has a gogurt, and some fruit that are in a package that have to be open. Everyday he tries to open them on his own, and I watch him struggle, then he'll say so sweetly, " I need help with this, can you help me?" ( I ask him if he needs help with it too, but I've noticed he likes to try to do it on his own first.) He is so sweet. He stutters when he talks, and he can get everything out, but it takes him a little while. When its time to go home, I'm assigned to take him and some other kids to the bus, and if you spend some one on one time with him he'll talk to you a lot. He talks to me about swim therapy that he does, his family, his 2 golden retrievers, and much more. Its fun to listen to him talk, and talk back with him. Like I said he is so sweet! I love them all, but he is one of my favorites! Every Monday we go swimming and when we were getting out of the pool I walked back with him and he told me that he gets to go swimming twice on Mondays, at Camp Fiesta, and then for swim therapy. He told me that he loves to swim though and that it is a good exercise. He also told me once, "Camp Fiesta is so much fun!" He had a grin on his face as he said it too! Matt is a cutie too, he wears leg braces and likes to sit by me at all our activities. There are more kids in my group, but those are the kids that I've helped out and been with the most! Camp Fiesta is such a wonderful program for these children. Most of them come from Summer School in the morning and as soon as we get them off of the buses we immediately take them to the cafeteria to eat, then after that its different everyday! On Mondays we get them ready to go swimming and then go swimming, and we swim the entire day at Camp Fiesta. Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday we do different rotations. They have Sports and Games where we play a different sport every time we go. We have cooking where we make something that goes along with what ever the theme is for that week. Today we made cupcakes and decorated them to look like a bug because it is bug week, last week we made flying saucers ( Pancakes) and decorated them with lots of chocolate, sprinkles, whip cream, and strawberries. It was Space week last week. Andrew was putting lots and lots and lots of chocolate, and sweet stuff that made it look so gross, but he was having so much fun with it! I asked him, " Are you going to eat this?" and he said, " no," in a very high and quiet voice. He doesn't really talk a lot but if he wants something he'll say a one word command like, " bathroom, bathroom," in his quiet little high voice, then he'll take your hand and lead you to the bathroom. In science we normally start off with a little game, today there were lots of different bugs on the wall and 2 campers would go up at a time with a fly swatter and try to be the first to hit the bug that the lady called out. Then we do something with science. Today the campers got to look at earth worms and touch them to see what they felt like, look at them through a magnifying glass, and learn some interesting facts about them. Did you know that earth worms can live up to 10 years, and have 1-5 hearts depending on the worm? We have music therapy where we sing a bunch of songs, and the lady hands out a lot of instruments for the kids to play and make music with. Arts and Crafts we make a different craft that has to do with the camp theme. Today we made Caterpillars and a butterfly. The game room is more of a free time room where the kids can do what ever they want ( in that room though.) They have lots of board games to play with, and books to read. The music room is another free time room, they have lots of dress up clothes, and coloring pages to color. ( I don't know why its called the music room.) The ball room looks fun, but we haven't been there yet and all of our kids are begging to go! I've seen it and it has tons of balls that they can throw around and jump in. There is News 2 You, where they learn about the newspaper. I'm not positive, but I heard something about them making a newspaper for Camp Fiesta this year. It would just be a fun newspaper for the kids, and thats what we will be doing at this rotation. The older kids will be writing stuff for the newspaper and I'm not sure what the younger kids will be doing, we've only been to this rotation once so far. I think that that is all of the rotations, I might be forgetting one, but for the most part thats Camp Fiesta!


  1. Wow, Desi, what a great experience for you. I can tell you are a great worker and these kids are so lucky to be with you. I am so impressed on how you picked out something unique and special about each child. You are very aware and observant. I hope it is a wonderful summer for you.

  2. Desiree! I loved reading this post. I know alyssa is sad to be missing camp fiesta this year so I'm glad that you can take her place. You are so sweet and I know those kids are so lucky to have you there to be their friend!!

  3. Wow! You are so awesome for doing this! It sounds like you have a great group of kids! Those kids are so lucky to have you!