Hi Mom and Dad,
I miss you so much. Yesterday was kind of boring. We played games to get to know everyone in my cabin once everyone got here. There is a kid, Zach, that talks a lot, like never shuts up, and another, Kevin that has not said a single word. Last night I think he was even more home sick than me. Why are you making me come here again? Today we are doing the high ropes course, I am excited for that. Maybe I’ll start to make friends. Make sure that you give Sampson hugs for me. Tell Jack to stay out of my room!
Ps: Send me candy!
I did the high ropes course! I got to shoot Zach with a squirt gun as he was coming down the zipline. I don’t get along with him so it was fun to do. He is just too annoying for me. Last night Kevin and I stayed up outside the cabin together because he was crying he wanted to go home. He has a dog and an annoying brother too! We both like football but he is a Patriots fan. The counselor Jamie is really nice. He talked to us about being homesick. He even gets homesick as a grown up! Tomorrow we are starting our backpacking trip. I do not want to go hiking. Can you get me the new Call of Duty?
Backpacking was hard! We went up a really tall mountain carrying backpacks that had to of weighed 50lbs! We have a role each day. Today I was the chef. My other Counselor Kayla taught me how to light the back country stoves. We use white gas for them. Dad we should get one for our camping trips! I made mac and cheese with canned chicken for dinner. We had to have a veggie so I cut up broccoli and put it in it. Everyone loved it! I want to make it when I get home for everyone. Kevin keeps making fun of me. I told my counselors and they made him apologize but I don’t think he really wanted to. Everyone is so tired. I am kind of excited to sleep under a tarp though. Tomorrow we have to hike 6 miles!
Last night I fell asleep under the stars. There were so many! I got some bug bites but it was worth it. My counselors gave me some cream to put on them so they don’t itch too bad. We hiked 7 miles instead of 6 today. We got a little turned around and hiked a half mile out of the way before we noticed and turned back. It was okay though because we got to see an awesome waterfall. I was having a really hard time getting up a hill and was slowing everyone down. I felt bad but I just couldn’t hike any more. Kevin stayed back with me and helped carry some of my gear so I could get up the hill. His pack must have weighed 100lbs! I guess he isn’t as bad as I thought. We played Frisbee together after we got to the campsite. Tomorrow we are done backpacking! Thank GOD!
I went white water rafting today. The water was really cold. I was in a boat with Kevin, Zach, Tyler, and Kayla. Kayla was a good guide. She let us all try to guide and taught us how to steer. I got us stuck on a rock but it was fun trying to get off the rock. I fell in on Lesser Wesser, it was so much fun. As soon as I came up Kayla grabbed me and pulled me back in the raft.
Tonight we stayed at a campground called Appletree. I had to be Sherpa today so I had to wash all the pots and pans. They were so gross!
I was YODA today. I got to sit in the front of the van and tell the group what to do because I am the leader. We went to paintball. Kevin, Zach, and I teamed up against some kids from another group. It was fun to shoot them with paintballs. They don’t hurt as bad as I thought they would. We wore funny clothes from Goodwill to play. I can’t wait to show you pictures. Tomorrow we are going out to eat for our last night together. Yay! Real food! I can’t wait until I can get McDonalds and a soda. When you guys come to pick me up you can meet Kevin and Zach. We want to plan a trip to our house so we can hang out together.
2015 has been an incredible year at SOAR! We are so grateful to everyone who has supported us this year and helped make 2015 one of our best years yet. As we move into SOAR’s 40th year, our hearts and minds and filled with inspiration and passion to impact even more lives through incredible adventures! Here’s a look at some of this year’s biggest successes!
- SOAR served more campers in the 2015 summer season than EVER before!
- The Academy at SOAR filled enrollments for the school year with 32 students
- Our GAP Year at SOAR program thrived this year, filling the program with 8 gappers. Due to the generosity of past participants and SOAR alumni, SOAR was able to expand the GAP Year program through the purchase of additional property at Eagle View Ranch. This allowed us to accept 3 additional gappers, bringing the total to 11 students served!
- SOAR’s 2nd Annual Eagle Run 5k drew over 70 participants. All money raised will be used toward scholarships for campers in our local community this summer!
None of this would be possible without the support of each and every one of you. If you would like to make an End-of-Year Gift to the SOAR Scholarship Fund, you can make your tax deductible donation here!
We are excited to see what 2016 has in store!
This testimonial was submitted in November 2014 by the Mother and Step-Father of a long-time SOAR camper. They saw the difference that SOAR made in their son’s life and wanted to help provide meaningful SOAR adventures for other kids like Trevor. We hope you will connect with their story and join other families in making a gift to the SOAR Scholarship Fund this giving season.
Six years ago, my son Trevor embarked on his first SOAR adventure. To say he was leary of this new/unknown experience is an understatement. But I was hopeful that SOAR would be our Obi-Wan. For years we supported, nurtured, and cheered for Trevor while he road the ADHD rollercoaster. But we had reached an impasse. Trevor was coming home from school, defeated. His peers had discovered Trevor’s uniqueness and were beginning to make fun of him/bully him. As a parent, you will do anything and everything to protect your child. You teach them to keep their chin up and know that they are loved, but no matter what is taught at home, school is still a struggle. Let’s face it, kids can be mean, and it was taking a toll on Trevor. I was desperate to find a program that shared my beliefs. A place that would show Trevor that he is not his disability. So I went to the internet and found SOAR. I remember reading the description and parent comments and thinking that this was it! SOAR is our Obi-Wan! Then I looked at the price and thought there is no way! The SOAR price tag can be staggering, but what cost is too much when it comes to helping our children?
I weighed my options, continue to see my son struggle or give SOAR a try. So we did it! Trevor was signed up for his first 12 day backpacking adventure and boy was he mad! “Why do I have to do this?” “Why are you sending me away?” I tried to explain to him what we were doing and why, but it did not matter. So on June 12th of 2009 we hopped in the car and drove from Milwaukee WI to SOAR’s Balsam Base Camp. The minute we arrived we were greeted by SOAR’s fantastic staff. They made us feel welcome and secure. I was assured that my son would be in good hands. And boy were we right! I returned 12 days later to find my son grinning ear to ear. He was happy, healthy and just a tad bit stinky I remember reading SOAR’s Achievement Plan (sic) for Trevor and starting to tear-up. The things they wrote about my son were unbelievable. SOAR saw a part of Trevor that we have never seen. I was so excited to see how Trevor would take his new found strength and discovery into the new school year. I was even more excited to sign him up for the following summer. Trevor had told me, “no Mom, I’m not sure that I want to go back.” But by October he was ready. After 3 years of hearing “no I don’t want to go”, and then “Mom I will go to SOAR”.I asked why he keeps changing his mind. Trevor told me, “because Mom, the people at SOAR get me. At SOAR the kids are all the same. We all have a disability and its what makes us awesome.” It was at this moment that I realized what a positive impact SOAR has been on my son’s life.
I’ve had other people tell me that Trevor is so sure of himself and willing to take on new challenges. My son is smiling and laughing more, he no longer believes that he is his disability. SOAR did this for Trevor. The camp staff and campers were able to show Trevor everything we had told him. Talk about positive reinforcement! I jokingly told people that SOAR needed to be our Obi-Wan, our only hope. But it turned out to be true. We desperately hoped to find a place like SOAR and we did. To say thank you SOAR, does not seem like enough. We want to share the SOAR experience with other children like Trevor. So while we cant afford to send another child to camp, hopefully our donation can help. Thank you to everyone at SOAR that has touched Trevor’s life! You’ve made a difference!! Looking forward to year 6-Post Grad Adventure!