How to register your disabled kid for camp in 12 easy steps


1) Open your calendar. Gaze at those precious few weeks in July and August and try to find a 2-week block that delicately fits in between your kid’s multiple medical appointments. Clench fists while mumbling NOT ENOUGH WEEKS IN THE WORLD ANYMORE over and over.

2) Reserve four hours of uninterrupted alone time to read and understand your particular city’s Camp Guide. Soak up the mystifying levels of both complexity and vagueness.  Ponder the possible differences between “Adventure Camp” and “Arts and Craft Camp.” Shouldn’t all camps have arts and crafts? Isn’t that a given? And does Adventure Camp equate to only like, hiking in the forest? Going to the moon? The grocery store? Wonder out loud if the Camp Guide was written by an old sock.

3) Call the people in charge of Integrated Services. In other words, try to nail down a support person who will be responsible for lifting, advocating, toileting, and opening essential stuff like lunch containers and doors. Basically, you need another version of you. Only younger. And better.

4) Wait 4 days before someone calls you back. Pull hair out while trying not to throw cell phone across the room. (Cause you need that phone. The phone is key for step 5.)

5) Receive a call back from the City! Success! You’re the best! Except you can’t answer it because, funny enough, you do actual work during the actual day. Call back immediately. Hear the same voicemail message you’ve heard 94 times already. Leave yet another voicemail through clenched teeth.

6) Someone from the City calls back. Person kindly explains the process of obtaining a support person, but leaves out no fewer than 9 key steps, including the fact that you need a “membership code” and you have to book a one-hour intake interview.

7) Use your own internet savvy-ness to discover that the aforementioned information PROVIDED BY A GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEE is incomplete. Call someone else with an important job title.

8) Wait 48 hours for important-job-title-person to call you back.

9) They call back, and you manage to answer the call before it goes to voicemail, which required holding your cell phone in your left hand for 7 hours straight while trying to carry out regular human activities. Like eating. And going to the bathroom.

10) Book an intake interview as part of the “nailing down a support person” process. Flinch as you are told there are no guarantees and because registration has already been open for 3 weeks, that most of the camps are full. Delightful!

11) Whittle down the list of possible camps your disabled kid might like down to 4. Make plenty of unpleasant grunts when camps like Music and Science are full, but Dance and Gymnastics have plenty of space! Mutter a fruitless positive cliché to yourself.

12) Relax: you have officially done everything and anything possible to ensure your kid has a super-awesome camp experience. Put your feet up and wait. Beer is optional but highly recommended.

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