A true story about a group of disabled children who get to experience summer camp, and the positive growth for all; the children, the counselors and all those involved.
The Acorn People by Ron Jones
Disclaimer: The s-word is used on the first page. This is a story for 12+.
Since this true story was written in 1977 certain references to disabled or handicapped diagnoses which were appropriate at that time may not be considered politically correct for today.
Camp Wiggin typically features activities for Boy Scouts: archery, swimming, crafts, movies, and lots of active fun. Now, it will be a summer camp for a special group of disabled children, these children aren’t even expected to live long enough to even grow up.
But, they are children who still need the opportunity to have normal teenage experiences, but is Camp Wiggins the place for that? How can these children suffering from vision loss, hydrocephalic, multiple sclerosis, epileptic, polio or missing limbs survive in a place without ramps, sanitized medical facilities or swimming pool rails?
In each cabin the ratio is 5 children to two leaders. Two counselors, Dominic and Ron are assigned to care for 5 disabled children in one cabin. Dominic shows great love and concern and plans to make working with handicapped children his career, but Ron just considers it a great, outdoor, summer job.
As Ron shares this story and all the adventures of Benny, Martin, Spider, Thomas Stewart, and Arid you grow to feel the love and concern he develops for the boys. Dominic treats the boys to Mafia ghost stories- just the type that you can imagine would be told at a regular scout camp. He teaches the boys to cook – just like at scout camp. The boys all make acorn necklaces to share so they can include everyone as they know the pain of not being included, and Ron and Dominic and the boys figure out the way to accomplish their greatest feat- hiking up Lookout Mountain.
Unbelievable experiences happen when the kids report to the swimming pool… craft time is a bit bizarre, but the counselors at the camp come to understand their charges and try to help them have a “regular” summer camp experience.
The Camp administrator is more concerned with showing off his camp to the parents and shows less concern for the boys. He leaves often for fundraising, but all those back at the camp seem to know what to do to make it a special experience for the children.
All in all, these kids experience a summer they will never forget – dances, performances and a hike up the mountain, and author Ron goes on to work with other special children.
Also by Ron Jones: B-Ball: the Team That Never Lost a Game
A true story about a Special Olympics basketball team with heart and the desire to win.
This books is from my personal library.