For 12-year-old Taggart Henry, his very first summer camp experience was about building independence and confidence. Thanks to the Cerebral Palsy Association of BC’s Campership Program, Taggart attended Camp Winfield in Kelowna for the first time last July, and he thoroughly enjoyed his experience. The BC Easter Seals-affiliated camp connected the youngster’s family with the Campership Program, which helped offset the costs of going to camp, including the four-day journey from their home in Fort Nelson.
Mom Stephanie says despite being non-verbal, vision-impaired and living with cerebral palsy, “Taggart lives to be active and his favourite part of camp was all of the activities he got to participate in.” Taggart communicated with the assistance of his support worker, which helped facilitate interaction between himself and the other kids. He made many friends during his stay at camp.
Stephanie says, “the camp counselors nicknamed him ‘adrenaline junkie’ because he literally did all of the activities: canoeing, climbing, swimming, walking the grounds, sliding the water slide, and camping one night under the stars.” A shining moment for Taggart, the youngest at camp, was proudly participating in the talent show where he played the piano on his iPhone.
Although society has made great strides in the inclusion of people with disabilities, Stephanie says more can be done by individuals to initiate change. As a parent of a child with cerebral palsy, she advocates accessibility in businesses, creating specific programs for people with disabilities in community recreation centres, and just slowing down your life to listen to a person who struggles to communicate. “It’s about looking out for our society’s most vulnerable people to ensure they have opportunities to have a fulfilling life.”
Taggart is eager to go back to create more memories at the Easter Seals camp. The Cerebral Palsy Association of BC’s Campership Program is available to people of all ages living with cerebral palsy wishing to attend a special needs camp of their choice.