The summer of 2010 we had a sponsored camper come to us from Senegal, Africa, the organization sponsoring the child could have sent this young man anywhere in the world. The were looking for a positive environment that this deaf young man to have “Le meilleur été de sa vie”, the best summer of his life. They looked all around the world, and I mean all around the world to find a place for this boy to spend his summer. They found the Bob Rumball Camp of the Deaf.
Several months went by as arrangements were made for Abdi and while making these arrangements we found out his first language was French and he will be coming to us with a hybrid sign language that we hoped we will be able to manage.
It was the first day of camp and the bus was ready to leave the Centre, it wasn’t hard to find Abdi . Although he was a young teen, he stood well over 6ft tall and was standing off to one side all by himself. He introduced himself and it didn’t take long for the other returning campers to welcome him and make him feel as comfortable as possible. It was interesting to watch the kids trying to communicate with him, exploring different signs and laughing with each other when they discovered how different their languages were for some words.
When Abdi got to camp, he was able to discover for himself what he had only seen in pictures. The water sports, the games and socialization and the food! Abdi loved the food and the character of this young man came out as he would always be last in line for meals.
We were able to provide Abdi with that one of a kind experience that I so often talk about. Are we the only camp in the world that offer summer camp programs for deaf young people? Probably not. For Abdi we were.
The children that attend camp truly get a one of kind summer camp experience. The opportunities and experiences are unequalled. It could be water skiing, riding a dirt bike or meeting a new friend from the other side of the world. Those one of kind camp experiences happen at the one of the kind Bob Rumball Camp of the Deaf.
The memories that a child makes at camp are ones that stay with them for a lifetime.