I've blogged here and here (about our family weekend) about camp Victory Junction. We went to another Family Weekend back in April (how have I not blogged about that?!) and Kayla just went for the first time by herself this summer.
Among many great things about VJ is the fact that they have a summer camp just for the siblings of someone with special needs. A time for the siblings to get to experience the fun of being away at camp, without your parents, for a few days.
Lucas is only 6, so I was a little hesitant about sending him for his first sleep-away camp this summer, but he's not the only 6 yr old there, so I was in good company! He was so excited at the opportunityy to go back to VJ by himself.
Sometimes it's hard having a sibling with a disability, and sometimes it's hard just being the younger sibling, period! We hear a lot of, "How come Kayla gets to do x,y,z? Why is x,y,z just for Kayla? Why is that only for kids who have a disability?"
We try to find the balance of teaching those life lessons: life isn't fair, everything isn't always equal, you won't always get to do the same things as Kayla just like she won't always get to do the same things as you, there are some things you'll be able to do that Kayla won't be able to do. Kayla is older, she wasn't doing those things at age 6.
We don't want either of our kids to have a sense of entitlement that they deserve everything and anything.
But some things are simply harder for a 6 yr old to understand, as much as we try to explain it.
Kayla didn't get to go to to a sleep-away camp at age 6. I don't know if I would have been ready/comfortable to send her to one at that age! Maybe it's because Lucas is my second child and I'm a little more relaxed with him, and it probably helps that we've been to VJ twice as a family and I really feel comfortable with their program and how things are run at the camp.
Whatever it is - Kayla had the opportunity to attend 4 camps this summer, so I went ahead and applied for the sibling camp for Lucas. To give him an opportunity that was just for him (although the irony isn't lost on me that the only reason he has this opportunity is because of having a sibling with a disability!)
So he's off at camp and he had no problem making friends as soon as we got there - he was almost too busy to even stop and tell me bye!