Thursday, August 2, 2012


Maggie is going to GIRLS ROCK! camp this week.GIRLS ROCK! takes place at (what everyone knows as) the MTU, which is the medical therapy unit of California Children's Services (CCS).

In case you haven't picked up on this before, there are a million initials in Maggie World.

California Children's Service serves low income children and those with certain "qualifying conditions." The MTU provides therapy to those with qualifying conditions. Cerebral palsy is one of those qualifying conditions and, though not the only one I suspect it is the most common. Maggie is by far the most involved camper - just as she is ALWAYS the most involved kid anywhere - but all of the campers have some level of physical involvement or they would not be at this Camp. Some of the campers really don't need to be there for themselves but they act as mentors for the others and it's a great thing.

Maggie loves this. I took this picture of her as we headed there on Day 1.

Maggie and I spend a LOT of time together and I really appreciate this opportunity for her to have some fun with other girls.  Maggie's only recreation and socialization is school and this year she had all male classmates. This is the ONLY recreational activity available for Maggie when school is out. I do act as Maggie's aide or nurse at camp, but I try to stay out of the way unless she needs suctioning or feeding or something or intervene if an activity will trip any of her dozens of allergies. That means I am about five feet away from her all the time, but believe me she having fun with the other girls.Today I have the nurse coming early so Maggie will go to camp with her. I will run errands while they are having fun and pick them up after a couple of hours.

There are about 14 campers this year. That's the most in the four or five years Maggie has been going. At first some of the girls are sort of afraid of Maggie, which is typical, but within a day or so they are including her in their activities and laughing at her antics.  Maggie may not be able to set a table but she definitely benefits from the opportunity to socialize with the other girls. 

The Camp is great. It goes for five days and each day the girls connect a little bit more. That's part of the wicked plan. These girls are often without peers to hang with socially and miss out on some of that teenage interaction. So far they have made soap, done their nails and learned to do mini facials, made tie-dyed shirts and bandanas, learned to pack a suitcase, set a table and lots of other things. There is also a ton of information and empowerment for these young women but for the most part they don't even realize it's happening. The best was a panel of CCS graduates they had the other day - but that needs a post of its own.

The camp lasts 3.5 hours, but Maggie can't quite go that long. She needs to be catheterized every 3 hours and I can comfortably stretch that to 3.5 but when we factor in travel time, we can't stay for the whole thing. I could cath her there, but there really isn't any place to do that with privacy and that's just too much information for the other campers.

GIRLS ROCK! is over tomorrow and then we have another two full weeks before school starts. I have a few things up my sleeve, including connecting with one a couple of her different friends. She will have fun, but it will be nothing like this. For one thing, I am NOT crafty at all.

I really appreciate this camp and what it gives Maggie. In this time of budget cuts and slashing of services to the disabled, the powers that be need to come and see what these dedicated therapists put together for this group. They would be amazed.

I know I am.  

1 comment:

  1. Sounds terrific -- I wish we could have things like this all year round for our girls. Sophie is at Communicamp for two weeks -- another fantastic social and learning environment.


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