By Deron Hamel
Attending Summerfest Camp for the past four years has been a benefit to both 15-year-old Jack Moller and his parents, says Jack’s dad, Tim.
For Jack, Summerfest Camp has been an opportunity to become more independent; for his parents, the two-week camp has provided a venue where they feel comfortable letting Jack be away from home for an extended period of time, Tim says.
The Mollers learned about Summerfest Camp through Epilepsy Ontario’s newsletter. When they heard about it four years ago, they encouraged Jack to attend the one-week introductory camp session.
When Jack returned home, he said he had such a good time he wanted to attend the following summer.
“This was something he had never done; he had never been away from home for any extended period of time, so it was something new for him to try, to be somewhere on his own without us,” Tim explains.
“The introductory week went well, so he’s been going there ever since.”
By attending Summerfest Camp, Jack has found a forum where he can be among others his age, be independent, and “figure things out on his own,” his dad says.
“There is a variety of things he can do at the camp – there are all types of different sports to keep him occupied all the time,” Tim says.
“Being able to fit into the crowd also helps. He likes to feel that he is helping out and that he can do things for people, so they let him help with little jobs around the camp, and he really likes that aspect of it.”
Summerfest Camp has nurses and counsellors trained to work with people living with epilepsy, and this is a comfort for Jack’s parents.
“It has been great to see that he enjoys it so much and that it’s a place where he can go without us and that we can be comfortable leaving him there,” Tim says.
“If he does have a seizure there, we know that they know what is going on and they can take care of it.”
Held near Orillia at Camp Couchiching every summer since 1994, Summerfest Camp enables children aged six to 15 who are living with seizure disorders to attend camp with other children. The camp has the resources to meet the needs of children living with epilepsy and provides a setting where they can enjoy a carefree camping experience.
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