Everything we do is dedicated to the students and campers who participate in our programs. Their stories and your reviews are what truly breathe life into the SOAR programs.
WHAT PARENTS ARE SAYING ABOUT SOAR
Our daughter goes to SOAR camp every summer. Balsam Base has become her “happy place.”NC Discovery
She loves all the counselors. It is wonderful for her to see some familiar faces and new ones every year. She even bumps into campers she has known in previous years some times. The activities are well-paced and enjoyable. It is super special for her to spend time as an independent person with people who understand her and make her feel like she belongs. I wish this experience for every kid with ADHD.
A SOAR summer camp experience has been one of the best gifts my son could have received. He grew a ton that first year, and even moreso the second. Now, we're both looking forward to what the adventure has in store for him.WY Horsepacking
This camp was absolutely life changing for my 11 year old son. He came home from a 10 day camping adventure in the Keys more confident, independent and overall happier in general. His counselors were extraordinary and helped him navigate through social challenges while also supporting his strengths and helping him see his potential. At the end of the session, they gave us all (including him) a verbal report on the progress that he had made during his time with them. I would never have expected a 10 day camping experience to change the trajectory of my son's life, but it did.FL Keys
My 14 y/o son with ADHD finds little pleasure in much of anything because “it’s boring”. He agreed to try the CA Adventure trip.I nearly had to push him on the plane because he was understandably anxious. 10 days later, I was the one that was anxious awaiting his arrival at the airport-terrified it didn’t go well. Thankfully he had an awesome time! He was so happy discussing his adventures with the team. What made it all worthwhile was the joy he expressed while talking about his interactions with everyone! This is not the norm since he often times avoids interactions because friendships have proved to be really difficult due to uncontrolled impulsivity. The group leaders were really wonderful! Speaking to them the day before his departure was extremely helpful. I felt like he would be in great hands! The post trip check in with the group leaders was also really insightful and enjoyable. The support staff in the office was always responsive and incredibly pleasant! Overall a terrific experience for both of us and we plan on an even longer trip next summer! Thank you SOAR!!!CA Adventure
THEIR JOURNEY TO SUCCESS STARTED HERE
SOAR is unique. There is nothing else in the world like it, and that is because what they do at the academy is transformational. I never imagined myself at SOAR. For context, I am a typical suburban kid from Atlanta, I envisioned myself graduating from the public high school nearby which had a graduating class of something like eight hundred. However, a series of events unfolded that proved beyond a reasonable doubt I could not succeed at home. I was afraid of a lot of things(chiefy of being myself, i.e vulnerable/genuine), and most importantly I had no idea of how to ask for help. These things compounded until finally my mother had to make a very difficult gamble to send me to some summer camp in Western North Carolina that apparently had a boarding school as well. It was a heartbreaking experience, but it would be the start of a very important journey.
I arrived at SOAR and things did not magically improve, in fact they sucked quite a bit for the first few weeks. The process is slow, but it builds on itself. You meet people and are forced to connect with them on a more meaningful level than you realized was possible. Your instructors are pseudo parents, guiding you in the little nuances of life and how to be a better person. I will never forget the evening check-ins where my staff helped me to reflect on how I could do better the next day(thank you Sadie), or something as small as talking about a funny looking dog I saw(there are so many). If you are lucky, you might even get to shed some tears in one of those check-ins, but you have to be willing to feel some feels.
Those are a few of the things I felt while in the program, but the most important change happened at the end of my second year. The deal with my family was that I would go to SOAR for two years and then I could go back home. I had said going home was the goal from the start, and my parents were not at all opposed to the idea of NOT having to pay roughly the tuition of Harvard so I could go to high school. However, just before the end of my junior year I popped the question, "Could I stay at SOAR?". The answer was yes, and I finished out senior year right where I wanted to. It was a rewarding year to put it modestly.
SOAR has not stopped changing my life even after I graduated. I was lucky enough to be hired as an intern at the SOAR Wyoming base and had an amazing experience learning to become an assistant horse wrangler, and then eventually field staff. In fact, this coming summer I will be employed at the Wyoming base yet again. There are few days where I don`t talk to my SOAR peeps, the friendships have been something special. SOAR also helped foster the drive and willingness to seek out new challenges. This is most clear to me as I enter my second semester at college in my school's ROTC and continue practicing as a new competition horseback rider, I am always willing to try something new and give it my best. I shamelessly admit that SOAR helped deliver me to where I am today, and for that I am eternally grateful.
SOAR is not for everyone, but if you let the system help you grow, then I promise you will do just that.