Even though Tatham is 14 years old chronologically, developmentally he is closer to 7 years old. His special needs require that he have constant supervision and have made it pretty much impossible for us to find qualified babysitting on our limited budget.
Since 2015 Tatham has been home-schooled in conjunction with Columbia Virtual Academy as the local schools were unable to adequately support him and keep him safe. That means I am home with him pretty much all day, every day fulfilling the role of parent, teacher, and caregiver. Given the options it is the only choice we could make, but it severely limits his socialization and is an exhausting undertaking.
Unlike a typical teenager, Tatham has never been to a slumber party or a sleepover and he hasn't been able to participate in activities like little league, soccer, or after-school programs. Until last summer he had never been to summer camp.
Then last spring, we learned about a wonderful camp program in our area for kids with disabilities—Camp Beausite Northwest .
I had looked into other camps and either they were not able to accommodate Tatham and/or we simply could not afford the fees. This time when we inquired we were given assurances that the staff were equipped to handle Tatham's disability.
Camp Beausite Northwest is a unique organization in its ability to provide safe recreational camps for kids with disabilities and special needs like Tatham. Not only does it afford indispensable respite for parents, like Eric and myself, but it satisfies an essential need for socialization that Tatham is sorely lacking.
Thanks to the tremendous outpouring of support of our GoFundMe campaign last May, Tatham was able to attend sleep-away summer camp in July and he had an amazing experience.
Since then Camp Beausite Northwest has expanded their program and has been offering themed weekend respite camps throughout the year. Tatham was able to attend a photography themed respite camp over Easter weekend thanks to the generosity of his grandparents.
The next camp they are offering has a Harry Potter theme (one of Tatham's special interests) and is over Memorial Weekend. Then there is summer camp in July, and then another respite camp in the fall (probably in October). The cost of these camps is $600, $850, and $450 respectively.
Unfortunately, Camp Beausite Northwest has informed us that scholarships requests have more than doubled this year and due to demand only partial scholarships will be awarded for summer camp this year. No scholarships are being offered for respite camps.
Sadly, we just do not have the financial resources to cover the cost of these programs out-of-pocket. So once again we are reaching out to our community of friends and family for support in order to fulfill the dream of sending our special kid to Camp Beausite Northwest for their invaluable camp programs.
ANY amount, no matter how small that you would like to contribute would be greatly appreciated.
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