From time to time, all parents of children young and old could use a little respite - a break that not only permits the opportunity to perhaps recharge and refresh, but also possibly to manage tasks that are simply better suited to adult-only participation. You know the ones I mean - going to the mall at Holiday season to achieve a collection of purchases that doesn't stray wildly from the list, the dutifully coined "spring cleaning", or the Sam's club trip that will keep you in paper towels and dryer sheets for 6 months.
Fortunately for parents, kids usually benefit from their parents' chosen respite, too. With young children, a weekend spent a relative's house or even sleeping at the nearby home of a close friend is a fulfilling albeit often exhausting adventure full of stories to share with parents once reunited. From infancy, a well needed break for a parent is also an opportunity for a child's social growth, independence, and integration into becoming part of a greater community.
As kids get older, they garner more of an interest and responsibility in the planning and coordination of these respite events. Sleepovers and pajama parties morph into hanging out at the mall and going to concerts. Indeed, growing kids become increasingly motivated to find respite opportunities for their weary parents. Similarly, there is never an occasion where a break for a parent would occur at a time when his or her child wasn't somewhere; somehow gaining a positive experience for development - otherwise it would hardly be considered a break! So respite is one of these rare mutually beneficial arrangements in life, and with everyone in the family having fulfilled that need, there are plenty of pleasant stories to exchange over Sunday dinner.
With a child having needs such as ADHD, Asperger's syndrome, or mild Learning disabilities-children that often face social or behavioral challenges - the changing structure and demand for the child of these respite events - the very nature of which stipulates that the child is separated from "home-base" - can quickly morph into a mine field of panic attacks, refusals, and early pick-ups. Once the respite arrangement falls through on the child's end, it just as quickly falls through on the parents' - for the break cannot be enjoyed by either side when one party is suffering. Parents in this situation may become "hemmed in" to the same caregivers that have been a continuous presence since young childhood; not nearly as frustrated with their own loss of freedom as saddened by the lack of fulfilling opportunities they feel their child may be missing out on. For what parent does not look back on their own childhood and first think of a best friend, weekend sports game, a club house, or a summer spent at camp?
Summit Weekenders came about with the thought of expanding a successful camp program that supports special needs children into a 'year round' opportunity that could reach our potential campers in many areas throughout the US, an "introduction" into Summit camp as it were. Weekenders do provide an excellent opportunity for some kids to 'try out' our camp - a Summit Sampler. However, in reality, each weekender also took on a life of its own from the moment of inception - as a format and opportunity for our kids to take back a role in their respite arrangement. In coming to a weekender, our kids choose to spend a weekend during the school year with friends, independently, as part of their greater community. And when they do, they are gaining a positive experience that is geared towards social growth, future independence, and personal development. They are cared for in the way that Summit is proud to care for any child we are privileged to know, in a way that understands how important and honorable it is to be a place which would be chosen by such a kid.
For more information on our Weekender Program, please click here.
Summit Camp provides a summer sleep away camp experience for boys and girls, ages 8-19, who have issues of attention. These may include Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD and/or ADHD), Asperger’s syndrome, awkward social skills, High Functioning Autism, verbal or non-verbal learning disabilities (NVLD), and/or mild social or emotional concerns. Some of our campers may also have Tourette’s syndrome, and/or mild mood issues. Summit Travel works with older children, ages 15-19, who have similar issues. Their opportunities are more worldly and mature based on their changing needs and expectations. The Weekender program offers school year weekends designed to foster peer relationships and enhance social skills. Travel Club provides extended excursions to exciting destinations during school holidays.