Danny is going to summer camp.

Well, to be fair, he is going to half-day summer camp for three days, but there it is.

He gets to go to camp. 

This fact has made me almost giddy and I have found myself oddly and perhaps inappropriately sharing it with everyone.

When I told the barista at the coffee shop this week, she replied, “Yes, I know. You mentioned that yesterday.” Did I? Whoops. I guess I am just really excited about it.

My husband’s family goes to Colorado every other year.

We stay in some wonderful cabins, and the place that we stay has all manner of activities and amenities for families.

There is horseback riding, hiking trails, swimming, a craft center, and day camps for kids of all ages. 

There is mini golf, zip lines, and playgrounds.

The activities and programming are endless.

It really is a perfect place to bring a family.

Last time we went to Colorado, Danny was eighteen months old.

We were only a few months out from receiving his diagnosis of cerebral palsy and he had just gotten his feeding tube. 

He could hardly drive in the car without screaming and sleep was extremely elusive.

He had sensory issues aplenty.

If we were at a particularly noisy restaurant or if someone laughed too loudly, he would startle and wail. 

We were used to all of this.

However, being on vacation and not in our normal environment seemed to shine a light on Danny’s challenges and differences.

We have some amazing memories from this last trip, but I couldn’t help in taking stock of all of the activities.

I watched families take off together on hikes through the mountains and children marching cheerfully off to camp and had but one thought – what does this look like for Danny in the future?

How do we make this beloved family trip work for him?

What happens when I can’t carry him through the trails and he is not a baby?

When it came time to plan for the trip this year, I was excited but also reticent.

What does this look like for Danny?

I called the day camp office, practically told them our life story, and blabbered on and on about how I wanted Danny to have some kind of camp experience.

The woman on the other end simply said, “Let me forward you to our inclusion specialist.” What? Okay.

The inclusion specialist informed me that their facilities are accessible, and we could stay with Danny if we wanted to, but that they have trained inclusion counselors that would be assigned to him. 

We could meet them ahead of time, train them on whatever he needs, and he could participate in whatever he wanted to do.

I cried.

I cried because that is what our family trip to Colorado looks like for Danny. 

He gets to go on hikes, go swimming, and learn silly camp songs.

He will meet new kids, cry because he misses his mommy, and then get it together because they are making s’mores.

He gets to go to camp because he is a kid and that’s what kids do. 

They go to summer camp.

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