“My son has joined the fun of the summer camp program that is run by Welcome Inn twice now. The first time was the year before the horror of the pandemic hit us all. Now, my son hates to try new things, and this was the first time he ever attended a camp. I knew that convincing him to go would be a battle. Anyone who knows him knows that he is quite good at making an argument and convincing others into agreeing with his point of view. I’m laughing as I say this! Who knows, maybe I am raising a future lawyer or politician. The first day of camp was here, and he was more than likely thinking I was the worst mother in existence. From that very first day, though, he was hooked (I told him so). He had so much fun. Unfortunately, the next summer during the pandemic this was the one thing that he really wanted to do most, and he couldn’t. The staff were amazing and the camp coordinator at the time informed me about the LAF after-school program. She took my e-mail and in September asked me if I would like her to hold a spot for him. When I questioned my son about his interest to attend, I am happy to report that he answered with an enthusiastic YES!!!!!
This brings me to this past summer when he attended camp for the second time. He begged me to sign him up for every week. Leading up to camp, it was all he talked about. Now, I am sure that most parents will understand when I say that during the pandemic I noticed a change in my son. He returned to in-person learning last year, and he did not know how to be around his friends anymore. He used to be the kid that always had a new game idea, a group of children always around him, loving school and always being happy. I saw his personality change. He would come home and inform me that he was alone at recess. He now hated school. He was sad quite a lot. If you are a parent, you can imagine how concerned this made me, and the parent-guilt kicked in. What did I do wrong? What could I have done? What can I do? All I wanted to do was fix everything and shelter him, but I knew sheltering him would not benefit him.
Here is where the Welcome Inn LAF program and the summer camp come in. My son attended LAF through the school year, and he attended all eight weeks of camp. I slowly started noticing a change in him. The biggest change was in the summer during camp. He learned how to make new friends again, and how to reconnect with his old ones who were also attending, being the one to approach the new person as he used to do. Camp helped him regain his confidence, become himself again. I am happy to report that he loves school again, which is every parent’s dream. He is now always surrounded by his friends.
The new program coordinator and everyone who has been a part of the LAF program and camp have no idea how truly grateful I am to them. They have helped us more than they will ever know. My son is already talking about volunteering his time when he is older and becoming a counselor himself. My son is back on track. He is healthy, happy and thriving, ready to rule the world. Welcome Inn is a very big part of this. They say it takes a village to raise a child. I want to thank Welcome Inn for being part of my village.”