Thursday, July 27, 2017 ~
It’s graduation day at summer Boost Camp and the guests are gathering. I see a familiar face. Michelle is proud to mention that, just this week, her grandson Devin started to take a few steps on his own. “Here he comes”. Hanging on and letting go… Hanging on and letting go. Go Devin Go! One step and another. It’s graduation day.
Excitement fills the room as the campers leave their wheel chairs by the door. Clad in bright green Boost tee-shirts, with the help of volunteers, each one takes their special place along the front of the stage.
Many children come to Boost Camp summer after summer. Thanks to increased funding from Pops Kids, 2017 marks the first year that campers and volunteers have been given the opportunity to participate in Conductive Education year-round.
Parents continue to travel great distances just for the chance to advance their child’s “personal best.” One young girl and her family started out across an ocean, in Luxembourg, and traveled to Arizona, only to work their way to Boost Camp in Santa Rosa.
Colon is seven years old. He and his family originally came from Chicago and have now resettled in San Francisco. This is his first year at Boost and his mom Julie shares that Colon experiences his own story of movement. He has been working hard at camp to lift his head up.
It is well known that many children living with CP also experience neuromuscular spasticity. A common condition associated with cerebral palsy, this chronic tightening and stiffness is often very painful. Effective pain management is crucial in allowing kids to be kids. With pain relief comes the chance to communicate better, make friends and have fun. Kids can also focus when it’s time to do some hard work in Conductive Education.
Thanks to the utilization of special herbal sage packs, prepared for Boost Camp by volunteer Ann Ward, Colon’s mom has noticed a significant relief from the pain that once held Colon back.
In August 2016, Boost Camp conductor-teacher, Saskia Kramer, stepped up to fill the role of Boost Director. Since that time, she has been working tirelessly to implement and improve the program with year-round Conductive Education activities, providing various session types where children can learn and reach their individual goals.
Volunteers from the surrounding north bay community make up a very special ingredient when it comes to the prolonged success of Boost Camp. Many student volunteers juggle their studies and free time to show up day after day, year after year.
Always recognizing and building on the strength of community, Saskia and UCPNB extended a special invitation to teachers and therapists throughout the district to come and observe Boost Conductive Education on July 13th. As a result, Saskia received feedback, interest and requests to collaborate from several “traditional” special education professionals. This patient “pebble in the pond” strategy is admittedly a slow process. But. it has served Boost well.
As one of the longest, continuous Conductive Education programs in the country, Boost Camp represents a persistent beacon of encouragement that keep our kids and their families, specialists, volunteers and community connected.
It’s Thursday, July 27th, graduation day. Saskia thanks parents and campers. She gives recognition and praise to her three conductors and to Paula Smith, a professional Occupational Therapist who has reached across the barriers of tradition to supervise OT students who volunteer with Boost Conductive Education camp.
Margaret Farman, Director of UCPNB, offers great credit to POPs Kids for our commitment to the expansion of Boost. She then presents every child with a diploma for their own, a very personal achievement at camp. Each of the Boost “kiddos” sits on the lap of a caring volunteer as they receive their certificate.
It’s graduation day! Devotion and gratitude are over flowing. This little pond is teeming with life.