To camper Alex and his mother Camp Korey is a magical, freeing place. She shares why.
In a word, that’s what Camp Korey means to me. If you are a person who has ever used the phrase “confined to a wheelchair” you would probably use it to describe Alex.
To me, the word brings to mind images of prisons. It implies a lack of choice. A lack of possibilities. In a world that frequently focuses on physical appearance, Alex has felt the sting of being overlooked and underestimated due to the fact he uses a wheelchair and a communication device. He has gone through childhood being told by others what he can’t do.
And that’s why I would much rather you say “person who uses a wheelchair.”
Because at Camp Korey Alex has found an inclusive community that celebrates him and helps him realize all he CAN do. At camp they bond with each other over common struggles, they stretch their limits and they try new things. They take risks with the full support of the counselors and other campers.
Camp Korey is something special. It is a place where Alex is unconfined. At camp this year his favorite activity was the zip-line. Last year his favorite was horseback riding and swimming in the hot tub. It’s a place where he can be appreciated for who he is without constantly having to prove that he is good enough to deserve a place. Smart enough to earn a place in a general education classroom. Normal enough to be friends with. Funny enough to tell jokes. Camp Korey is a place where the counselors saw his heart and appreciated his bright spark. He came home with his heart so full, he overflowed with happiness. It’s a place where he is a kid first and a person with a disability second. It is a “person-first” place. A place where the heart is first.