By: Stephanie Lowe
Many amazing things happened at SOAR in 2018, and we are excited to share them with you!
1. In 2018, we served 647 campers across all of our locations this summer. We are excited to hopefully exceed this number in 2019!
2. In 2018, 27 campers received scholarships to attend camp, including three full scholarships! We know that there are so many more campers out there who need financial assistance, so we have exciting plans to help grow this number in the coming years.
3. In the Spring of 2018, five students graduated from the Academy at SOAR. We are very proud of all of our graduates. Some are currently pursuing higher education, some are in the workforce, and we have one graduate attending our GAP year program in Wyoming. All of them are displaying signs of a bright future.
4. A huge highlight of 2018 was introducing the newest member of our SOAR team: our Family Support and Alumni Cultivator, Dr. Elizabeth (Liz) Simpson! Liz’s sole function is to support families and Alumni of SOAR. Our goal for this position is to be able to provide more support to our SOAR families and Alumni during the year and once they leave camp, the Academy or our GAP program.
A little about Liz:
Liz has a BA from the University of Wyoming in Education and a Ph.D. from Auburn University in Educational Psychology. She is a lifelong educator and advocate for children and families. Liz began her career as an interpreter for the Deaf in Casper, Wyoming. She then went on to work with court adjudicated youth in a residential program, later becoming acting director of that program. From there, she spent 20 years as a special educator in public and alternative schools. After seeing a great need for teachers to be better prepared to teach differently abled children, especially children with LD, ADHD and Autism, Liz went on to teach Special Education, Human Development, and Collaboration at the University of Wyoming. In 2010, Liz was asked by the State of Wyoming to develop their distance-learning program. For the past four years, Liz has been an independent consultant to parent groups on how to help their children with special needs be successful in school, their communities and in life. We feel very lucky to have Dr. Elizabeth Simpson join our team and we are excited to see what wonderful ideas and support she brings to our families at SOAR.
5. Our Wyoming base completed their Alpine Tower in 2018. The Alpine Tower is a three-sided structure, one side has a climbing wall and the other two sides consist of challenge elements with cargo nets and climbing poles. The Alpine Tower helps our kids to push their boundaries and overcome obstacles with perseverance and goal setting skills, but most importantly, it is a lot of fun!
6. The Academy at SOAR launched its first ever TEDx event in May of 2018. This event gave our Academy students the opportunity to speak on a public platform and provide information to spark learning, as well as provoking conversation on a topic of their choice. This event was a great success and is something we hope to continue hosting in the future!
We look forward to another great year in 2019!