“The giant smile that you will witness on your child when you pick them up from camp will forever be etched in your memory. Their sense of pride and accomplishment is infectious, and they will talk your ear off about their new friends and skills learned at camp.” – Kerri, Elise’s mom.
Stories of how every child overcomes their perceived limitations are ones we will never get tired of hearing. There’s something truly magical about the moment a child decides to take a step towards the accomplishment of anything they set their mind to, leaving all preconceived notions of what they can or cannot do behind, as they conquer their fears and leap into the impossible. This is Elise’s story.
Because of her diagnosis, cerebral palsy, Elise requires support for things like toileting, bathing, and transfers to/from her wheelchair. As a result, she is sometimes hesitant to try new things. However, largely through the interactions with other children who face similar challenges at Zajac Ranch, Elise has developed a newfound openness and willingness to step out of her comfort zone and realize the sky is the limit. Elise’s favourite part of camp is ‘flying’ on the high ropes. The opportunity to partake in activities like these has boosted Elise’s self-confidence, which is now permeating different aspects of her life well beyond the duration of camp. Elise’s parents could not be more proud of her. Ultimately, as Elise’s mom, Kerri, puts it, all they want for Elise is for her to “reach her full potential in life and never limit her sights because of her disability” – at Zajac Ranch, we echo this sentiment.
Camp staff and counselors are vital in fostering this sense of adventure, possibility and care at camp. Many of the most meaningful connections made at camp are with the counselors, who do their best to connect with every child on a personal and individual level, hence affirming every camper of their inherent value and uniqueness. It is thanks to the care and capability of our camp staff that Kerri, along with every Zajac Ranch parent, can rest assured that while drop-off at an unfamiliar setting and temporary separation can be quite scary, it is definitely worth it.
Kerri encourages every prospective Zajac Ranch parent to take heart in knowing this experience will most definitely add value to their child’s life. As she puts it, “change is good, and giving your child the space to do something in a new way is not a bad thing.”
For as long as there is a community need to do what we do, for as long as parents trust Zajac Ranch, and for as long as our generous supporters keep on rallying behind our vision, we will work tirelessly to embrace, empower and enable more children to have this life-transforming experience because they deserve it.