Camp is Never Far from You
Camp has a way of touching your heart, coursing through your veins making you eager for more.
Jadon’s camp story starts in 2012, the year he discovered a different childhood, gained independence, strengthened his resolve, and ignited his Camp spirit. That was the year that Camper Jadon found his calling. Jadon’s dad remembers the excitement he felt for his son, “Jadon made a few friends with his similar condition. But then we pulled into Camp Korey and immediately there were 40.” And that was it. That was the moment when everything changed, and they have never looked back.
Adapting and Accelerating
Jadon is accustomed to adapting. He was born with diastrophic dysplasia, a rare form of dwarfism, in addition to other medical challenges that require a trach, mobility assistance, and 24/7 nursing support.
Since birth, he has had to constantly adapt to new surroundings and make the necessary adjustments to accommodate and fit in with the outside world. What looks like a simple adjustment to an able-bodied person can be time-consuming, painful, daunting or even embarrassing from tasks such as participating in a class field trip, to going to the high school football game, seeing a movie, even eating at a restaurant. Each of these outings requires preparation and planning. Spontaneity is not in the cards. Running over to your friend’s house to “hang” is not possible. That idyllic carefree childhood is lost.
But once he rolled into Camp Korey that’s when Jadon accelerated.
Jadon did not have to adapt to the outside world, because at Camp we prepared, we planned, we knew. Jadon came first. He was not defined by his condition. Jadon could simply be Jadon.
The gift of Camp Korey was liberating for Jadon’s family. “Every kid should be able to experience summer camp. It’s a big part of growing up and figuring out who you are,” Jadon’s mom, Ember reflects. “Camp has reminded us that, no matter how hard we try, we really don’t know what it is like to be our children – to live with the diagnosis they have. Camp has taught us to appreciate that not only in the lives of our children, but others as well.”
Now a high school honors student, Jadon spends his days grinding on his academics, joking with his younger sister, heading to doctor appointments, perfecting his drumming skills, but in between it all is thinking about that Camp magic.
“Camp Korey has shown us that, with a little creativity, things that you never imagined were possible are possible. We look forward to hearing about all the adventures and fun things our campers get to do and experience!” shares Jadon’s mom.
Onward and Upward
Jadon does not stay still for long. His scooter physically takes him places, but his energy and zest for learning drive his mind and heart. “My experiences at Camp Korey have led me to express my feeling of gratitude towards others more, thanking them for helping me or adapting something for me or just making me feel welcome and accepted.” Jadon also shares, “I have learned that it is okay to be different and do things my own way.” At Camp Korey, Jadon becomes a different person. “A more fun, crazy side of him comes out, a side he does not often show in public. He feels like he does not have to worry about acceptance and people looking at him when he is at Camp,” says his mom. This freedom and confidence have trickled into his life outside of Camp, pushing him to try new things and grow.
When asked “What Now?” Jadon looked at us with a smile and said “Well, I want to work at Camp! Camp Korey has had a lasting impact on my life as it has provided me with some of my best friends. It helped solidify my acceptance of who I am. Time to pass that gift on to the next round of campers.” Like we say, Camp is never far from you.