A powerful impact | AspenTimes.com

A powerful impact

Dear Editor:

Aspen Camp celebrates 44 years this week. We recently received this Colorado parent’s testament of what camp does for children. Thank you, Aspen and the Roaring Fork Valley, for helping us over the years!

I need to thank you a million more times for the boys to be able to come to camp. N__ had a good time. With his history of meth exposure and abuse, we’re starting to see more markers for learning disabilities. But, he had a wonderful time.

B____, my hugest child struggle of the last 13 months, quite possibly had a life changing experience. He had been horrid behaviorally the two weeks before camp. Camp came just as my gas tank was on empty. He fought going and texted me he would stay only one week. HOWEVER, he obviously had a wonderful time. He was pushed in just the right ways. He spent his 10 orphanage years abused and prohibited from being outside so he has an inordinate fear of nature.

You guys got him in the pool. You have NO idea what an accomplishment that was. He has absolutely refused to be near water. One of the punishments in the orphanage was to hold their heads under water and not let them up. You got him on a ropes course, rock climbing and sleeping outside. He came home super sad. I was immediately concerned he was going to give us problems, but he was actually sad because he would miss camp so much. He’s talked non-stop about going back as soon as he can. He really, really was positively affected by his time there.

We just took him for football camp, expecting him to be complaining and quitting within 24 hours. To our surprise, he came home with a great attitude. That’s a pretty big departure from his normal “woe is me” pity party. I truly believe he is able to deal with this because you guys gave him such an experience up there.

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The truth is we brought home a kid last year who we were told was 13 and who wanted a family. The reality now is that he is likely 15 and really wants no part of a family other than a means to an end. He resists family structure; he complains a lot; he is not satisfied with anything; he is negative, jealous and difficult to live with. Truly, I’m not sure we could continue having him here if we did not have a respite situation.

But, it was a wonderful surprise to see him so positively impacted by your programming. And, we could have never afforded it ourselves. With now having five kids (three teens) and three of them being relatively high-need with their deafness and other issues, we’re stretched in all ways.

It was a gift beyond words to get a break, and to see him come home not complaining and not negative was a very pleasant and unexpected surprise. Anyway, thank you again so very much!

Lesa Thomas

Snowmass