Thursday, July 31, 2014

Camp I Am Special & Autism

This week, my church sent just me away to retreat for two days at a place called the Inn at Marywood.

Marywood, St. John's, Florida

Believe it or not, I stayed in this huge, beautiful home by myself (the part of the house on the right there with the chimney is now actually a chapel), as guests normally come and stay on the weekends. 

It wasn't until it was almost time to leave when I saw and spoke with some of Marywood's staff members. (Until then, they worked like little and wonderful elves, staying unseen but providing for my every need. I don't know how they did that!) And as we spoke, a crowd of teens appeared and were about to go out on the long dock that sits on the St. John's River.

The gentleman (an exceptionally kind person) who served me breakfast explained that those kids all had autism and each year they come to St. John's for a week of camping. As many as fifty teens come at a time and amazingly they each have their own aid who are volunteers.

Even more amazing is the fact that each volunteer serves at this camp for seven weeks every summer. There are seven camp sessions...a new one starts each week. I was told that volunteering at Camp I am Special is so popular that 400 people are on a waiting list to spend time with these autistic kids. 

This is a non-denominational program. People from all faiths are welcome. I hope this can be a positive resource for some of you. 


Sunset on The St. John's River

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