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Spring Break Overnight Camp Seeking Families with Special Needs
LAKE GEORGE – If you are part of a family that has a child with special needs or a life threatening illness, or know one – this may be the most important story you read today.
A fully funded overnight family camp program is looking to add 10-15 additional families to take part in this free, yet priceless experience. The details are below, but you must act quickly.
Camp TLC – a free camp experience that connects children who have experienced medical or life trauma by offering unique ways of coping through recreational and performing arts based activities – is expanding to include Saratoga County families, and will take place during this year’s spring break period – from April 24-28. The camp will be hosted at the YMCA Camp Chingachgook in Lake George.
Camp TLC, which stands for Together Living a Challenge, has a program model that incorporates the whole family unit into the camp experience – with an emphasis on developing necessary skills and building self-esteem as a means to overcome challenges.
According to Founder and Executive Director Caroline Baumis, herself a native of Saratoga Springs, similar camps around the country have been successful over the past five years and she is particularly excited about establishing Camp TLC in her native region. “We are honored and grateful for our connections in Upstate New York and excited to expand our program to meet the needs of more children and families in Saratoga County. Our relationships with local organizations – including the Upstate New York Austism Alliance – help us recruit new families so that we can provide a week of resources, respite, love and wellness.”
“We are especially thankful for the support of foundations such as the Alfred Z. Solomon Charitable Trust, Charles R. Wood Foundation, and the Kennedy Mulcahy Fund of the Ethel and W. George Kennedy Foundation for their continuous support of our camp program.” Baumis has previously been involved with a day camp for backstretch workers and other charitable activities such as with Medical Missions for Children. She noted that the overnight camp model has proven to be logistically easier to achieve than day camps (where daily transportation could be an issue for some) while proving to be a superior experience for participating families.
While many local families have been recruited for the April camp, the good news is that there is room for up to about 15 more. There is an application process, and it is requested that you apply by March 21, to allow for screening and processing. Here is what you do:
Families that participate in Camp TLC at Chingachgook will be able to participate in a broad variety of activities that you would expect from a comprehensive camp experience, including yoga, massage, a petting zoo, arts and crafts, bingo nights, sing-alongs with local favorite Rich Ortiz around the campfire, drive-in movie night, hiking and other outdoor activities, guitar and theater lessons, in addition to special theme days such as carnival day and color games in which kids get to ‘pie’ their parents. “That’s always a favorite,” Baumis said, laughing.
Overall, “Our campers will love the warm and encouraging atmosphere and it serves the entire family,” Baumis said.
For more information, visit www.thecamptlc.org. Camp TLC also has Facebook and Twitter pages.
By Carrie Rowlands Johnson
For Saratoga TODAY
LAKE GEORGE - “Come on, mom, let’s go on the Steamin’ Demon!” Cameron, one of my twin boys, is pulling me in the direction of one of the things my nightmares are made of. The “Steamin’ Demon” is more than 15-hundred feet of winding heavy steel track. The car it facilitates carries its passengers up, up, up toward the sky before dropping them down, down, down- over and over again. As if that isn’t scary enough, it also features a single loop and a double corkscrew. That’s where I draw the line. I refuse to fly upside down, even for a matter of seconds, even for the most important people in my life.
Now, there was a point in time when I, too, could be labeled an adrenalin junkie. Those were the days of FOX-TV News live shots, skydiving and other risk-taking behaviors. Those days, however, ended when my twins’ lives began. I started thinking more about consequences than thrills when I became a mother.
Realizing I am going to need an alternative in order to prevent a meltdown, I divert Cameron’s attention toward the Alpine Bobsled. I don’t feel too badly about it, noticing his brother Jordan doesn’t appear at all anxious to attempt the monstrosity that is the Steamin’ Demon, either. He’s cut out of a much more subdued cloth than his fraternal twin. For this, I give thanks nearly every day.
We wait in line in the hot late summer sun for at least a half an hour. I am wiping the perspiration from my face as we finally load into our bobsled. This is a completely original roller coaster ride here at The Great Escape. According to the park’s website, “there is no track at all – you simply speed-glide like a bullet down the mountain, on a smooth high-walled course that is identical to what the Olympians ride.” I scream the entire time, as forcing the loud sound out of my body seems to force out the butterflies, too. This is highly entertaining for my children and clearly adds to their satisfaction.
The boys and I have season passes to this popular Lake George amusement park, which come in handy on those days when I don’t want to blow the entire price of admission on just the few hours we have to spare. Today is a “Get a friend in free” day. Though I contemplated bringing along one or two of the boys’ friends, I ultimately decided just to keep it to the three of us. I’m not unhappy with my decision. It turns out to be a great opportunity for me to spend quality time with my little men before they head back to school.
Other than the half-hour wait time for the Bobsled, we are able to navigate the rides pretty quickly. Marshal’s Stampede indoor bumper cars, The Blizzard (scrambler), and Screamin’ Eagles are all big hits. The Raging River offers a refreshing cool down, and it is just my speed, carrying us relatively smoothly through the rapids.
Just before the boys hit the wave pool in the water park, I give them their “last ride” warning. This always seems to ease the shock of an ending. It certainly does today.
Our bathing suits dry on the walk back to the car, and we are still wearing them as we take the short car ride just a few miles North to the Adirondack Pub and Brewery. Located right on Canada Street, just across from Fort William Henry, it is easy to find. It’s easy on the eyes too, tastefully decorated in the traditional, rustic Adirondack style.
John Carr opened the popular restaurant fifteen years ago, and is proud of the some fifteen different beers they brew right on site. I’m here with 8-year olds, so we sample the root beer offered on tap. Carr explains that they add “extra winter green oil and less vanilla than typical root beer, giving it a lighter flavor, and making it more popular with kids.” Pure cane sugar and honey are added instead of high fructose corn syrup, making it a relatively healthy choice, too.
In spite of the fact that it’s a brewpub, I find it to be a family friendly place, something else Carr is proud of. “It’s nice because mom can get a salad, dad can grab a beer, and the kids can have fun,” says Carr. My two sure do, wolfing down their pasta and chicken nuggets in record time, agreeing they’ll fondly remember our late summer Great Escape long after they’re back in the classroom.
The Great Escape is open weekends through November 2. The Adirondack Pub and Brewery is open weekends all year long and seven days a week during the summer. Visit sixflags.com/greatescape and adkpub.com for more information.
Carrie Rowlands Johnson is a writer/blogger. She previously reported for Fox 23 News. You can read more at: http://carowlands.wix.com/carrie-rowlands