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August 2nd 2005
On Tuesday 2nd August 2005 Trace from the forum boards at adders.org very kindly drove Richard and I to visit the first Summer Camp set up for Children with ADHD in the UK.
Summer Camp 2005
As you can see from the various News Articles below and on the News Section of adders.org this has been set up by Steve and Adrian - click here to see more details of this.
Anyway Trace picked us up at about 9.30 and we had a really good journey and arrived at the Camp at about 11.30 - midday and we greeted by one of the Staff who got straight on the radio to Steve who in fact arrived round about the same time on his way to do something for the camp.
It was great to meet up with Steve again and he took us straight up to the main building where the camp was based - this was a really large modern building belonging to the school whose grounds the camp was situated in - it really was a very welcoming place and the whole place just seemed to send out the feeling of calm which is not exactly what anyone had imagined being a camp for children with ADHD but seriously it really did feel very calm and peaceful - truly amazing!
Steve and one of the Camps nurses took us on a tour of the building starting by showing us the various landings of bedrooms - these consisted of rooms of 4 beds for the younger children - rooms of 2 beds for those slightly older and rooms of 1 bed for the oldest ones - all the rooms were of a great size and had plenty of storage and also plenty of partitions to allow those in shared room privacy as well. Also in the rooms it was obvious that all children were encouraged to bring something of home / their own with them to help them to settle in and also the rooms were incredibly tidy which again I didn't expect! But it appears every day they are all encouraged to tidy their rooms and to keep them tidy and to be honest all rooms were very tidy!
Each landing of rooms had a staff bedroom at either end so the children knew that there was always someone around even at night and all staff were available to the children at all times. On the walls of each landing were lists of rules which had been made up by the children themselves with the help of the staff written up as a poster and put on the doors or walls for all to see - this meant that each landing had slightly different rules which was great to see but on the whole most were either the same or very similar!
We were then shown the various rooms for activities for the evening or on wet times and these were all fully equipped for use at any time.
We were then invited to join the camp for lunch which was remarkable experience - each group of children came into the lunch hall and lined up picked up a tray and went round the corner to where the kitchen staff dished out dinners - there was the choice of 2 main meals of which on this day included Cornish pasty with vegetables or sweet and sour stir fry - there was also a large choice of salad - quiche - cheese - ham and a number of different yoghurts and deserts. As one group finished and sat down at a table the next group arrived and lined up and went through. All the children were very well behaved an
d queued very sensibly and went to sit at the table in very sensible manor and very quietly too it was truly amazing.
One of the main things I noticed at lunch was that although 90% of the children were on medication and a lot were to have this at lunchtime it wasn't until one of the camp nurses came and sat beside a young lad sitting next to me - she started to talk to him about what sort of morning he had and I then noticed that during this time she sorted out his tablet and he took it - the thing that impressed me about this was that I hadn't noticed this happening with any of the other children and therefore this meant that discretion was fantastic and that no one other than staff and child were aware that this was being given.
After lunch all the children had an hour quiet where they went to their rooms to do something quiet to allow their lunch to settle and things like that - they were allowed to join friends in other rooms but they all had to be quiet and sensible - the thing that was noticeable about this was that there was no fuss made they all did exactly as they were told and expected to do!
It was obvious that the older children had taken on responsibility roles for helping to look after the younger children and they were also using video cameras filming various activities and they were interviewing other members of their group - they l really were amazing in that this was all done of their own accord!
All the staff were amazing and showed to be full of confidence and support and respect to the children in their care and this shone through not only them but the children also there was mutual respect and confidence - the staff did not just tell the children what to do they would ask them very politely to do things and this really did pay off in that the children would do what they were asked and if they wanted to ask staff for anything then they were all polite and respectful to all staff and also to us as visitors.
To be honest there is really just too much to say about things and how fantastic I felt this Camp was and I really do wish this had been there when Richard was younger - in fact he wished this too.
The best thing I can do is to link here to the Camp website where you will be able to see loads more about everything that the children did and exactly how the camp was run and organised.
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