A Letter from Summer Camp
Dear providers and staff at Pediatric Associates of the Northwest,
I have just returned from Camp More and am writing to thank you for your generous financial support. Camp More is our one-week sleep-away summer camp for school age kids and teens that stutter, located on the grounds of Camp Magruder, near Rockaway Beach, Oregon. The camp’s focus is not on eliminating stuttering (which usually can’t be done) or learning speech techniques to manage stuttering, (since most of our campers have already had speech therapy aimed at those goals.) Instead, Camp More exists to promote normalization and desensitization of stuttering. Instead of less stuttering, we encourage more self-esteem, more self-confidence, and more stuttering self-acceptance. We work toward more comfort with stuttering and increased communicative confidence as well as more social and communicative risk taking. Our goal is for campers to redefine their identity.
Because of your support, three children were able to attend camp this year that otherwise might not have been able to do so. Our 24 campers participated in activities including arts and crafts, nature and hiking, sports, swimming, archery, riding the giant swing, and kayaking. Each day they heard short motivational talks from adults who stutter, and participated in small groups aimed at goals including initiating conversations, saying one’s name even though there might be stuttering, positive self talk, letting people know you stutter, and talking in front of a group. We had evening campfires, a movie night, a visit by an improv comedy group, a talent show, and a hike to the tide pools at Tillamook Bay. A highlight on our last night was a train ride to Rockaway for ice cream, where to our delight we discovered that even the store manager’s husband had a stutter. The night ended with an awards ceremony where each camper’s gains were highlighted. As one of our teen campers said, “I know I am going to miss this place because it gave me a chance to find out who I am.”
As directors, one of our greatest joys was watching the relationships that developed between our “littles” and “bigs.” This was our first year having younger children (ages 8 to 12) at camp, and we couldn’t be happier with the results (or more proud of our teens) for demonstrating such kindness and acceptance. They exemplified the idea that it is really OK to stutter, to be who they are, and to find their voices and use them more. The teens looked after, mentored, and became role models for the younger children. The “littles” looked up to, admired, and adored the teens. For one week, campers got to live in a different world-to live with, play with, and be surrounded by people who stutter, including three of the five camp directors and our medical professional. Watching children stutter without feeling self-conscious, say what they wanted to say, and realize that some of them were meeting others who stutter for the first time was uplifting.
Thank you again for your great support. We are already planning for next year.
Best from Glenn
Glenn Weybright, M.S., CCC, SLP, BCS-F
Speech language pathologist