Camp Hawkins and Book Reports

I completely crashed today!  Do you ever have days where you just decompress?  That was my day.  I am fully aware that I am probably the only teacher that hasn't set my classroom up yet, but I just couldn't go.  I woke up at 7:30 and started getting ready at 8:30... at 9:30, I was still just sitting around and by 10:00 I decided that a lazy day would be nice.  Last week was great, but 15 hour days wore me out.  I still don't care if I see tennis shoes for a week, a month, or never again.  Just kidding!  However, I have to admit I seriously never realized though how much I hate having my toes closed in by shoes.  Croc flip flops have NEVER felt so good!

So, what was I doing last week?  I spent the week working at a camp for kids with special needs called Camp Hawkins.  I have tried and tried to figure out how to put into words just how incredible the week was, but there just aren't words to describe every second.

How do you describe the feeling of seeing a young 14 year old kid show another 14 year old kid how to throw a football?  He literally took his hand and lined his fingers up on the laces and coached him.  How do you explain what it feels like to watch a 19 year old that is paralyzed be lifted from his chair and put in a go cart and driven around a track.  What can I say to help you understand how your heart feels after watching 25 kids perform at a talent show?  Each of them had their own talent.  Whether it was painting a bird house or listening to the next Billy Graham sing, you couldn't help but watch in awe.

Here's what I learned last week.  Everyone that says that kids with special needs are different, well they are right.  The 25 kids we worked with smiled all day, were hilarious, worked hard, never complained, showed no fear, were willing to do anything including a messy meal (eating spaghetti and salad with their hands), bumper cars, and getting on stage to perform.  To top it off, they didn't get upset if they lost and they didn't brag when they won.  They cheered for each other and even more than that, they were confident in who they were.  So, yes, the boys were different.  They are better than all of us.  They are more trusting, passionate, caring, and sure of themselves.

I don't know how much of a difference I made to them, but they definitely made a difference to me.

Now that I've told you a little about my trip, here's my newest book report freebie.  Hope you guys can use it.  I made two different types so you can differentiate a little.

Alright, I hope you have a great night!


  1. Awwwww - what an amazing gift those boys gave you and you them!!!

    You deserve MORE than a day to CRASH, friend!
    Growing Firsties

  2. That's a great feeling!! and you aren't alone - I haven't set up my classroom either! In fact, I haven't been to my building since the week after school got out (the week of Memorial Day)! I probably should get started...

    The Very Busy Resource Teacher

  3. The camp sounds amazing!

    Love your book reports as always!

  4. Camp sounds like a great experience for you and the boys...I am sure you made a difference to them.

    Thank you for the book reports, too!

  5. Sounds like an amazing week,what a blessing-you and the boys!
    Thank you for the book reports. And I went to my classroom yesterday, opened the door, went inside, turned around and left! Just not ready yet either:)

  6. Just wanted to say that I haven't been able to set up yet either. We aren't allowed in our rooms over the summer (they take our keys away!) so I haven't been in it since I finished packing for the summer. I'm hoping to get my keys the week before pre-planning, but who knows if that'll happen. It'll be a mad dash either way!

  7. I worked at a summer camp for students with disabilities back when I was still in college. It was every day for 6 weeks. It's been like 7 years since I worked there, but I still think about those kids. I worked with the older boys group, so we had kids from the age of 11 til 19. They were all severely disabled- unable to verbally communicate, in wheelchairs, etc... We had a great time that summer, though. There is one boy who had tumors or cysts growing on his brain, but he loved me and wanted to be near me. I wonder what happened to him and if he is still alive. We dyed another's hair with rainbow colors. :-) I would have gone back and worked there the next summer if I had lived with my parents, but I didn't. It was such a great experience. I totally understand what you mean by saying that you don't know if you made a difference in their life, but they made a difference in yours. Those kids certainly did! Sorry to unload on you there, your post about camp just made me think about that summer and those boys.

    Oh, and don't feel bad. I haven't been to my classroom yet. We're not allowed in. I won't go back until August. And I'm ok with that!

    Blooming In First

  8. It sounds like you had an amazing time at camp!! I haven't been to my classroom yet either. We are moving schools for next year, so all my stuff is packed up and we aren't sure yet when the move will be finished or when we can get in! I'm starting to panic! :)

    Thank you for the book reports!!
    A Sunny Day in First Grade

  9. I can only imagine what a great experience you had working at the camp with the special needs kids.
    We aren't even allowed in our classroom until August 1st. The first day back for teachers is Aug 12th. I found out I was changing classrooms/grade levels the last day of school. Of course there were no boxes to be found. I spent 2 days moving so it will take me awhile to set everything up this year.

  10. I'm switching to 1st this year, so thanks so much!! :)