Camp Diary 2012
Thursday, June 14th
It was camp competition day. I dressed in my new white t-shirt
with the olympic rings and wore my green team visor. I was
looking forward to a busy and active day. That's not exactly how
things turned out.
I sat with Scott at breakfast. At this point, no one knew what
the schedule would be like or what activities they had planned. I
asked Scott what he wanted to do today. He happened to be eating
a banana. He signed "boat" with the banana in the middle. Funny
First, I was disappointed to learn the games wouldn't start until
after lunch. In the morning, they offered yoga class or a
motivation workshop. I wasn't interested in either. I hoped to
paint my pinch pot but was told I couldn't.
I decided to go to Coach Cody's workshop with Scott and Andy.
Cody is a deaf-blind athlete who competes in martial arts. For a
motivational speaker, he put on a great program. But I don't like
motivational workshops. I already have attitude, believe in
myself and have goals. I'm determined, focused and courageous. I
don't need someone to tell me these things. I already know. I
wanted to be out facing challenges, not sitting in a room talking
Coach Cody did a lot of board breaking. That might have been more
exciting if I could have seen it. Stuff like that loses dramatic
effect when it has to be described.
He did have Andy come up front and showed him how to break a thin
board. I think Andy was nervous, but Coach Cody got him all
pumped up. Andy succeeded in breaking the board. He was so proud
We were all given a thick wood board. Coach Cody told us to write
our fears or obstacles on the wood. I'm such a party pooper. I
didn't write anything on mine.
Always a wise cracker, Scott wrote "banana boat" on his board.
He's been protesting saying, "What makes you think that was
mine.?" Let's just call it an educated guess.
Cody then put on a show, breaking the boards to free people from
their fears. It sounds like a pretty cool ending. I was wondering
who would clean up the mess.
After the workshop, we had the chance to attend a yoga class.
There was just no way I was going to that one. I did it a few
years ago, and it turned out to be just like my physical therapy.
This was my vacation. No PT allowed!
They set up a "Guess What?" game in the Nature Center, so I went
to check it out. We had to identify 30 objects using touch, taste
and smell. It was an easy activity, because it's the way of life
for me. I liked the black licorice, lemonheads and red jello. I
had trouble with the mustard. When I squeezed the bottle to get a
whiff, the darn stuff went up my nose. Bleck! I got 27 items
correct. I missed soap (thinking it was lotion, beans and
peppermint flavoring for tea or coffee. The last two things I had
never encountered before, so it's not surprising I couldn't
identify them. Overall, it was a cute game.
After lunch, we were told to report to the pavilion for the start
of competitions. There were supposed to be relay games, pool
games and a watermelon game, to name a few. This is where things
really fell apart. It was so disorganized, the games were too
hard and they kept changing the rules.
We stood there waiting and waiting for the relay to begin. Every
time we were ready to start, they changed it again. I was
standing for so long that my knees began to buckle and my SSP had
to get me a chair.
Finally, they cancelled the relay and just let us participate in
whichever parts we liked. I was already set up and practiced for
the bean bag toss. But before we started, they moved the hoops
back. It became too hard. Challenges are great, but no fun if
there's little chance of winning.
I got disgusted and decided to leave. I tried to find out when
the pool games would start, but they didn't even know. I headed
to the giant swing instead.
Like I said, I don't need Coach Cody to get me motivated. I
always have some kind of goal. It's like a competition against
myself. I set my mind to do something new or hard. Then I do it
to prove to myself that I can. This year's goal was to ride the
It was a crazy idea. I'm afraid of heights and don't like
amusement park rides. Why would I even want to ride this big
swing? But my mind was made up, and I had to go through with it.
There was a game involved with the swing. Each camper had to hold
a bottle full of sand. While swinging, they dropped the bottle.
If it landed in one of three hula hoops, the person won. Give me
a break! This is what I mean about the games being impossible to
They hooked me up into a harness and made me wear a helmet. I
kept looking for the swing. I thought there'd be something to sit
on. But it turns out, the harness is the swing. Oh, wedgie city!
I climbed up a ladder, where they connected the rest of the
ropes. To launch, you actually have to fall backwards off the
ladder. My mind said that wasn't a good idea. I did it anyway.
They started pulling me up and up. The nice part about blindness
is that I couldn't tell how high I was. I later learned it was
about 30 feet up.
I don't know what I was expecting. At camp, SSP's always ask if
you are ready. Maybe I thought my SSP had grown wings. I was
waiting for the warning. It didn't come.
Suddenly I either heard or felt a "click." Then I was FLYING
through the air, screaming me head off. It took me a moment to
realize my stomach was still with me, and I was having fun. I
really liked that swing!
I had trouble getting back down the ladder. I missed a few steps
and ended up aggravating my already hurt leg. I also felt like I
had a wedgie all the way up to my chin.
As we were leaving, we ran into Scott, who was also planning to
ride the swing for the first time. I gave him a warning about the
wedgie. Wasn't that nice of me?
We got ready to go swimming. As we walked toward the pool, my SSP
heard a loud scream. That was Scott on the swing. He enjoyed it,
The pool water was cold, and there was nothing going on. I only
went there for the competition. I guess they cancelled it. I
floated around with two noodles for awhile. It was relaxing, but
I was too chilly to feel good.
I completely skipped the watermelon contest. By that point, I was
fed up with the games and disorganization. I did hear that Andy
ate a lot of watermelon.
The big camp party was after dinner. Many campers dress up for
the theme. I wore a red and white t-shirt with the official "Team
USA" logo. My nails were painted red, white and blue. I wore
three strings of red, white and blue star-shaped beads. My
earrings were red, white and blue, too. I topped it off with a
headband that had two stars sticking up like animal horns or
something. I must have looked like a total dork.
Scott was dressed in sports clothes and a flag t-shirt. David,
who is obsessed with Superman, wore a full-sized Superman
costume. Toby was the best. She looked like a Greek goddess in a
beautiful toga and crown.
They had a DJ, with the music turned up so freaking loud. Even
the dead could feel the beat in that room. I danced some with my
SSP. She was amazing at signing music in ASL. I also did the
chicken dance and hokey pokey.
Next, I sat down by Scott, and we did some chair dancing. It was
a lot of fun. We may be pathetic, but we work hard to enjoy it!
Finally, they stopped to present camp awards. The green team
finished in last place. We still got medals with green ribbons.
They were presented by Coach Cody, himself.
I think Scott's team was in third place. The members on the
winning team got medals, trophies and t-shirts. Someone was
talking to me about transportation to the airport at this point,
so I don't even know who won.
They also presented special awards. Scott and I were called up
first. I knew it couldn't be good. We were "honored" for
surviving the banana boat crash. They gave me a t-shirt just like
the one I made the day before.
So it went on... I missed most of it as we were still discussing
transportation issues. They were frustrating me with all kinds of
changes. Someone was even insisting I was on American Airline,
when I know it was South West.
I had the chance to meet a few more people and say goodbye to
friends. I would be leaving in the morning before breakfast, so
this was the end. It's hard leaving the supportive camp
environment to go back in to the real world where everything is
so much harder.
My SSP's were concerned about my sleeping arrangements. Many
local people leave camp after the party. I was left alone in my
room. That was fine with me. The best part is that I got to turn
off the AC. I was finally warm at night and didn't even need my
snuggie. I was also basking in the glory of so many good
memories. Sweet dreams.
contact me at Angie.C.Orlando@gmail.com