The Time of My Life

My first experience attending Horizon Summer Camp

written by Frances Clair, camper

2018 was my first year at camp and I absolutely loved it! The best part was meeting so many new people who were fellow adults. I work with kids all year, so I’m used to hanging out with elementary age kids. Hanging with other adults was nice because I could talk about so many more things in detail.

While it was nice to be around people my age, things like encouraging others and being a positive influence are the same whether it’s children or adults. I liked being there to cheer others on or help convince fellow campers to try new activities. It even helped me be more courageous!

Having the option to do so many accessible things was such a relief. To know I could participate in every activity (for a change) was a great feeling. I didn’t have to worry about being left out or stuck or just watching from the sidelines. Going on a boat was my favorite pastime. I grew up spending summers at a river with a boat, but I haven’t been able to get on our boat in a number of years. I don’t have people around that can lift me but at camp, they were there. Getting that chance again was wonderful and it was the same with the pool.

I love swimming and being in the water which again I haven’t been able to go swimming in a number of years. Having a pool with a ramp was even easier than having a chair that lowers you in. I also loved that they make activities available to everyone. Things like bikes or kayaks and even sports aren’t always easily accessible in an adapted form. The opportunity to have so many options for the picking was a great feeling. I tried to do as much as possible.

While winter and snow makes it difficult for me to get around, I really have enjoyed the few fundraisers I’ve been to as well as the Camp Never Ends events. It’s always nice to be around other disabled people as well as able bodied people who aren’t going to treat me differently because I’m in a wheelchair. I’m eager to to continue to be involved with Horizon so I can help make it wonderful for me, my friends, and all those new or returning to camp!

I’ve had a ton of creative outlets in my free time. I am frequently involved in reading and writing. In the future, I do hope to write a book. I enjoy fantasy and science fiction the most. There is a shocking, or maybe not, lack of physically disabled characters in stories. Somehow I’m going to find a way to write them into my work. 

I would like to fill that void with physically disabled characters who people can love. Maybe stories like that would eventually stop other authors from having disabled characters become able-bodied and calling it character development.

In general, I always want to inspire physically disabled people to try new activities and figure out how to make something work for them. Where I work, if a kid can’t run the bases in kickball, I encourage them to kick and have someone else run.

I want to let people know about resources and places with adapted activities so that they can find other disabled people to befriend. I want people to know about the things no one told me about when I was first diagnosed.