Here are a few notes to keep in mind when working with your campers this summer!
Every camper that comes to camp has special needs. Some needs seem “standard” while other needs may seem “extreme”. Our job as staff is, to the best of our abilities, to meet those needs for every camper. While this may seem a daunting task, some background information and a basic premise of treating each camper as an individual will go far in helping you meet the special needs of every camper.
What is Inclusion?
Inclusion is the practice of welcoming, valuing, empowering and supporting diverse academic and social learning among people of all abilities. It’s a philosophy based on the belief that every person has an inherent right to fully participate in society. Inclusion implies acceptance of differences. It makes room for the person who would otherwise be excluded from experiences that are fundamental to healthy development.
Person First Terminology:
A way of speaking that recognizes that more than her condition defines a person. Each camper has a name and brings with her unique gifts, talents, and challenges. With practice and conscious effort, you can change the way you speak to and about individuals.
Former Way: “Suzie camper is autistic.”
Person First: “Suzie camper plays soccer, loves spicy food, and has autism”
Being pluralistic allows everyone to participate fully while maintaining their cultural differences. Your campers will benefit when you help them develop positive attitudes toward diversity.
- Show respect for the beliefs, practices, and dignity of each person. Avoid contradicting the values he/she has learned at home
- When selecting activities, consider the needs of everyone in the group. Be sure that all participants can be included.
- Act as a positive role model. Be sensitive to differences. Celebrate the uniqueness of each person and the richness of diversity.
- Create an open, non-judgmental environment and encourage questions. If you do not know the answer, be honest about it.
- Praise expectations and behaviors that demonstrate positive attitudes.
Yours In Camping,