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SMA Family Camp 2011

We hope these photos will whet your appetite for more. For more photos, check out the SMA Family Camp group on Facebook! (you may need to log in to FB first)

2011 SMA Camp – Location – Cultus Lake, BC By Andrea Lavallee
What was SMA Camp? It was many things: fun, adventure, hope. It was a forum for families to come together and share, and laugh, and cry and then laugh some more. It was a place where our children, living each day with SMA, became the majority; where siblings met, connected, and formed lifelong friendships that stretch across the miles. It was a wealth of information for the taking, networking, brainstorming and sharing what works and what doesn’t. For parents it was more than one could ever learn from any doctor or specialist. It was a place where families and children living with SMA showed the world that just because life is different for us, doesn’t mean it’s unenjoyable, it’s just different.0
Camp was a whirlwind of activities. For the kids, there were scavenger hunts, crafts, obstacle courses, relay races, amateur skit performances, accessible playground equipment, swimming at the lake, kayaking, hiking and even zip lining! All of these activities were completely accessible, not to mention irresistible. For the adults, there was the pure joy of watching your child, or as in my case children take off, either driving or running, without a glance back knowing that the world they were in at that very moment held no barriers for them. That the people surrounding them would not stare, or gawk, or point, and that should a dilemma arise, surrounding them was a wealth of knowledge and helping hands to make anything possible. SMA
Camp was held in beautiful British Columbia at Cultus Lake. The Camp was held over six days including two of the days that had an amazing group called CRIS came out and did all kinds of adaptive outdoor activities with families. There was hiking, and we are not talking about just walking along a trail here, the feeling I felt when I watched Holli, a fearless teen, being manoeuvred down a goat trail beside a rushing waterfall was one I will never forget, I don’t think Holli will either! She was so excited! Max was trekked through the shallow end of a lake, and dunked a little in the process during his big hike, all to squeals of laughter. CRIS set up a zip line, which was beyond fantastic. I watched Luke, another teen attending camp with his family, with bated breath as he was hoisted higher, and higher, and higher and then whoa, down the zip line he comes with a grin so wide you could see nothing else! I watched Maliyah kayaking with her entire family, and well contributed to the splashes with the oars, on purpose! All of this is done with an incredible amount of safety preparations. I watched kids be kids, chair or no chair, laughing and playing and helping one another. Camp this year was phenomenal, as always. My kids are already talking about next year. SMA Camp was an experience our family will never forget, as we honked our horn and drove away, our hearts remained, there in that open field, that place where the echoes of the laughter and tears and good times that we shared are frozen in time until we return again.

2011 SMA Camp – New**Eastern Location - Mount Forest, Ontario
62 acres of country property, 7 miniature horses, 12 SMA Families, 8 SMA kids, 3 SMA Angels, 1 adult with SMA, add them all together and what do you get? You get a day filled with laughter, companionship, compassion and tears. A day filled with people making connections, supporting one another and kids making friends with other kids who have SMA. You get a day surrounded by other SMA families who can truly understand what you and your family are going through. The McDonald Family graciously hosted the first SMA Family Camp in Ontario on their beautiful rural property near Mount Forest, ON from Sept.17th to Sept.18th. We were blessed to have a day with blue skies and sunshine. The day began with a visit from some friendly miniature horses from the farm across the road. Their handlers were so patient and kind with the children and allowed them to get up close and personal with these tiny creatures. After they left, the whole gang went for a hike on the accessible, scenic trails through the former Christmas Tree Farm. Kids raced each other in their wheelchairs while their parents had a chance to walk and talk together. Christina McDonald served up an outdoor buffet under a big, blue-striped tent. We enjoyed a Pasta Station with delicious, homemade sauces simmering in Crock-pots and a huge Salad Bar. Dessert was yummy squares and Tina McIntyre’s world famous Carrot Cake with Cheesecake Icing. Once word got around about how good it was, it was gone in a matter of minutes. Darkness brought Glow-in-the-Dark Sword fights and friendly and warm conversation around the campfire. Most families opted to stay at nearby motels for the night and we reconvened in the morning for breakfast, coffee and marshmallows (!) roasted over the campfire. It is thanks to the new Family Support initiatives that FSMAC is implementing that this amazing experience was made possible. Thank-you FSMAC for funding our camp and allowing SMA families to make these connections. We would like to have this camping weekend again another year and hope that even more SMA families from Central and Eastern Canada will join us.