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Dragonfly Forest Blog

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    Dragonfly Forest Blog The Pursuit of Happiness Program

    We are so excited for our conference this Saturday, Autism and The Pursuit of Happiness!  Check out our sweet line up of speakers and sessions!  

    You can still register for this conference online here! Do it!  See you Saturday!

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    14 May 2014, 20:54
     

    Dragonfly Forest Blog Why a Mom Cried about Camp

    Fly Beyond – Learn how your support allows Dragonfly camper’s to soar

    Matthew’s mom tells us they decided to register for camp because their son felt like he was alone in his journey through his bleeding disorder and she wanted him to be able to have the camp experience without having to worry about a camp not being able to handle his medical condition.

    But as she registered her son for camp she was apprehensive about sending him to camp for the first time!  As camp got closer, Mom had second thoughts about sending her child to camp. She wondered, who would help him with daily tasks and also how his anxiety would be with an unfamiliar setting.

    On arrival day, Mom tried to keep up the excitement about going to camp!  During arrival time and as we were saying goodbye we felt excited on the outside, but as soon as I walked, I was crying. I was overwhelmed with fear of the unknown. After all, he had never been away from me for more than 2 days!!  While at camp, she scoured Facebook for updates on activities and photos!!

    We wanted to send our child to camp because we thought it would be a way for him to build friendships and to also become a little more independent!  When we picked up our child, we talked about camp and everything he did!  As we reflect on camp, we feel grateful that camp was an option! I am thankful that my son was taken care of and had fun with so many wonderful people!!

    Matthew gained some independence and says he can't wait to come back to camp!  He also knows he is not alone and has made some wonderful friends!

    At Dragonfly Forest, we celebrate our campers who FLY BEYOND and SOAR!

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    29 December 2013, 20:47
     

    Dragonfly Forest Blog Fly Beyond with Tim

    Fly Beyond – Learn how your support allows Dragonfly camper’s to soar

    Because of camp, our son has nicely advocated for us to step back a bit!!  As parents we had hoped to experience him telling us this.  In the few weeks since camp, he has been describing his needs more, asking us "to let him do......himself" and is showing more frustration when we try to hold him back from "trying."  His learned self-helplessness described by teachers is melting away and self confidence has been built. Dragonfly has helped our son learn this in a week when we couldn't teach it to him all year long.

    We registered the first year because we thought Dragonfly would be the perfect place for our son to learn that he wasn't the only one with medical struggles.  The next year we registered because he absolutely LOVED Dragonfly and begged to go again this year!  Camp is a life experience that we felt he would never get to have due to his medical needs.

    During arrival time and as we were saying goodbye we felt Incredibly lucky to have found a "community" at a camp where our son's quirkiness and special talents are so appreciated and celebrated with kindness and love. We felt blessed to be part of Dragonfly. Our son just felt happy at arrival and a little choked up/sad at departure. He didn't want it to end...that says it all.  When we got home, we were able to spend the week with our daughters without worrying about their brother. This allowed us to focus on them and was special for them both.

    When we picked up our child, He couldn't wait to tell us all the details.  The nice difference about his description this year compared to last year was last year he described "activities" but couldn't remember a lot of individuals. This year he was more focused on telling us about the relationships he had formed with both counselors and his "friends" and then getting around to what they did together.

    As we reflect on camp, we feel our son grew as a person, not just as a kid with 22q.  He came out with marked improved self confidence.  He loved the activities, but loved being away from helicopter parents more!  We have learned to listen to his need for independence. Camp taught us even though we didn't attend!!

    We LOVE everything and everyone at Dragonfly Forest for allowing Timmy to experience life with 22q in a different way!

    At Dragonfly Forest, we celebrate our campers who FLY BEYOND and SOAR!

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    22 December 2013, 18:47
     

    Dragonfly Forest Blog Fly Beyond with Hailey

    Fly Beyond – Learn how your support allows Dragonfly camper’s to soar

    Because of camp, Hailey seems more confident.  My child’s challenge this year has been that she pulls the negative out of situations and fixates on them, with Dragonfly Forest, not ONE negative word has come out of her mouth.

    We registered for camp because we had heard so many positive experiences from other campers.  Our daughter thrives for independence - to be like all the other kids she knows.  We just did not know how to get her over the "bridge" to her preteen years.  We wanted her to learn to be away from us for a week and learn how to cope in a social environment without our help. It was so hard for us - Hailey wanted it so bad.

    As camp got closer, we had such nervous feelings about the week. What would she do at 2AM without her TV on in the background? What would she do if the weather was too hot?  We watched on arrival day as Hailey's eyes widened as we drove up to the location. There were counselors there waiving us in and introducing themselves. Hailey immediately felt so happy and ready to leave us.  I watched as my daughter spoke to her very own counselor, she was totally confident and happy. I felt that she was ready and all my fears melted away. I left knowing she would have the best time!

    When we got home, my husband and I did not know what to do the first two nights. We paced the floors waiting for "the call."  It never came!  We knew she was in a safe place. We had the BEST time getting the alerts through Facebook and Twitter. Every activity was right up her alley. We could just imagine her reactions to the fun things in store for her.

    When we picked up our child, she was smiling and looked so mature and happy. We cried as we watched her hug her peers and her counselors. She told us great stories and asked when she could go back.  As we reflect on camp, we feel it could not have gone better. This was Hailey's first experience away from us in her 10 years. As I am writing this, I am being brought to tears again. Words just cannot express what this camp has done for Hailey.

    At Dragonfly Forest, we celebrate our campers who FLY BEYOND and SOAR

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    16 December 2013, 11:25
     

    Dragonfly Forest Blog Fly Beyond with Landon

    Fly Beyond – Learn how your support allows Dragonfly camper’s to soar

    Because of camp, our son feels a sense of independence.  Mom remebers, “He asked me if I was proud of him...of course, my answer was YES!”   Mom continues, “Camp was perfect for him!”

    We decided to register for camp because we have been looking at it for about 2 years.   We looked at the pictures and we saw that the kids were having a blast!  When we registered him for camp, we were very excited to see if our son was going to be accepted.  We wanted to send our child to camp because we felt that if our son met other kids who are similar to him he would understand more about who he is.

    As camp got closer, Our son got very excited!  We marked everyday off on the calendar.  On arrival day, we couldn't have gotten there any sooner than we did.  Our son was happy, and as parents we were nervous, but in a good way.

    We were very excited for our son to have this awesome experience.  While he was at camp, we looked at Facebook and Twitter consistently.  We also felt relaxed after seeing the pictures.  We knew he was in a caring and loving environment.

    On pickup day, we couldn't wait to see our camper.  We watched and listened as he showed so much joy in telling his stories about camp and especially his counselors.

    Camp provide our son with a chance to experience time away from home, it gave him a chance to be with other children who are similar to our son, and he had a chance to just have a blast without the worry about the stress of daily life (tutoring, PT, OT and Speech)

    At Dragonfly Forest, we celebrate our campers who FLY BEYOND and SOAR!

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    12 December 2013, 18:52
     

    Dragonfly Forest Blog Holiday Spirit in Asheville

    Wrapping it up!

    This week at the Spectrum in Asheville we wrapped up our semester unwrapping Christmas

    presents! We jumped head first into the holiday spirit with gingerbread cookie cutouts made of clay. We

    danced to Christmas music as we not only created cookies but also the placemats to put our cookies on.

    Santa will be very impressed (let’s just hope he doesn’t bite into these cookies). After our placemats were

    set we joined forces and made a giant gingerbread house! Everyone put their most creative foot forward

    and built a house Hansel and Gretle would’ve definitely been tempted to eat. Next, we played a game of

    holiday inspired charades. We finished up with a gift pass and everyone got to go home with a goodie-bag

    in true holiday spirit. This was an amazing end to one amazing semester!

    I’d like to take this time to first thank our interns. To say this was an amazing semester would be

    an understatement. Your creative efforts and the time you put fourth are immensely appreciated and I’m

    sure the kids would agree. This semester was a success because of you guys and we extend our sincerest

    appreciation. I would also like to take this time to thank the parents of the Spectrum who without, we

    would not be here. We are extremely thankful for the time and effort you put forth to bring your kids

    every week. Each and every child helped make this experience one none of us will forget and I hope they

    enjoyed it as much as we have.

    To wrap this up I would finally like to say thank you for this experience myself. I have

    thoroughly enjoyed bringing the blog to you every week and getting to know everyone. I hope you have

    all enjoyed reading as much as I have enjoyed bringing our experience to you. I wish each and every one

    of you the best holiday wishes!

     

    Sincerely,

    Ariel Brambier

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    09 December 2013, 20:19
     

    Dragonfly Forest Blog West Chester Winter Wonderland

    Spectrum was a Winter Wonderland this week! Everything was winter themed! First, the kids and interns Ice Skated using paper on the carpet. Some of the most fun we have ever had at Spectrum! The kids were so fast and won multiple races! Us interns just couldn't keep up! Then we played Pass the Snowball! Once again, the kids were so fast! The interns were the first ones out! We then played pin the nose on the Snowman. The kids were very accurate, actually right on the nose almost EVERY time! Lastly, we had a snowball fight using newspaper. Those kids, once again, were so fast! We couldn't even figure out who won. Loving Spectrum in the winter!

       

       

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    09 December 2013, 11:56
     

    Dragonfly Forest Blog Fly Beyond with Hannah

    Fly Beyond – Learn how your support allows Dragonfly camper’s to soar

    As told by Hannah’s Mother

    Because of camp, Hannah made a true friend, had a wildly positive experience and gained a true sense of independence we never thought possible.

    We decided to register for camp because It was a camp that met our child's special needs as well as embraced her differences.  We were confident and happy that Hannah would have an opportunity to meet kids with similar issues and make new friends.  We were hoping that camp would allow her to experience a sense of independence.

    As camp got closer, Hannah got more and more excited.  We had visited the camp, and Hannah was excited to participate in all of the awesome activities - dance parties, campfires, swimming, etc.   On arrival day, we helped Hannah unpack.  She selected her bed, kicked her shoes off and essentially shooed us away!!!!

    When we got home, we pinched each other at how lucky we were to find Dragonfly Forest!  While at camp we checked Facebook to find out what activity she was at, ate for a meal and looked at pictures of our daughter having a blast!

    When we picked up our child, we met a whole new kid; one who was confident and had made true friends.  As we reflect on camp, we feel amazed at how often Hannah asks to go back!!

    At Dragonfly Forest, we celebrate our campers who FLY BEYOND and SOAR!

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    08 December 2013, 22:21
     

    Dragonfly Forest Blog Fly Beyond with Matty

    Fly Beyond – Learn how your support allows Dragonfly camper’s to soar

    As told by a single mother that was raised in the foster care system, with a child with autism.  Mom says, “To that end I have no support to help me with my kid. I also have limited funds for things like camp. Dragonfly Forest was a godsend for us because she's able to go to an overnight camp and I can send her to a camp without worrying that somethings going to happen to her.”

    Because of camp, Matty is able to grow, acquire, and finetune new skills. She's able to make friends and not be the odd ball because she's with other Autistic kids.

    We decided to register for camp because it was a safe place where my daughter could be Autistic, but be a normal child at the same time.  In addition, she needs a little respite time from all the TSS, Specialists, MTs, BSCs, etc. 

    As camp got closer, she got more and more excited.  On arrival day, she sat out by the door and waited for me to get ready.  During arrival time and as we were saying goodbye we cried.  I wear sunglasses so she can't see me, but she knows I'm crying. Every year she tells me, "Mommy we're both big girls."

    After dropping her off the first year she went to camp I curled up in a fetal position crying for 2 days. Now I put the time to better use by doing projects or going down to the shore.

    When I picked up my child, I'm happy that she's back, however, she wants to stay at camp forever.  Camp has given Matty the chance to learned a lot and she has discovered that she can do many things she didn't think she could.   The benefits of camp where that Matty was able to go and have fun while learning and taking safe risks, we both got a much needed respite from each other, and Matty now has memories that will last a lifetime.

    At Dragonfly Forest, we celebrate our campers who FLY BEYOND and SOAR!

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    05 December 2013, 21:21
     

    Dragonfly Forest Blog Cup Castles and Stomp Rockets

    This week of Spectrum was so exciting! Our main event was Stomp Rockets and Cup Castles! The kids had a great time using their aiming skills trying to knock down water bottles and cups. Half of the kids would continually set up the cups into castles and set up water bottles, while the other half would take aim and try to knock them down. The kids and the interns all had a blast! Can't wait for next week to be just as fun.

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    03 December 2013, 16:56
     

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