Today I began my summer job. It is a half day camp counselor job in my town. Camp Maple is camp that is offered to children with special needs who reside in Maplewood and South Orange. The program, run by the Maplewood Recreation Department, provides opportunities for gross and fine motor development as well as cognitive and social growth. It runs for six weeks. The children in our camp are students who do not require an extended year program at school, but work better in a smaller group setting. It is a group of children with a wide variety of ability levels and emotional challenges.
Our campers swim three days a week at the town pool, and we go on weekly field trips. We do arts and crafts with the campers as well. All of the counselors at Camp Maple are adults and are CPR and first aid certified.
This will be my fifth summer with Camp Maple and every year I look forward to doing it. We often have returning campers and it is great to see them again each summer. I am not a certified Special Education teacher, but working at Camp Maple gives me a better understanding of the problems such children face in their development. It helps me further my own growth as a teacher when I return to my classroom each school year.
Camp Maple is a place for the children to go where they are provided with a creative, nurturing environment to help develop key life skills, build confidence but most of all, to have fun!