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Winter 2010 Table of Contents
Versión Español de este artículo (Spanish Version)

By Christina and Pete Suarez, Harlingen, TX

Abstract: Parents describe the emotional process of sending their son to an overnight camp. Their reluctance did not prevent them from leaving him and the experience was positive for everyone. Keywords: blind, retinopathy of prematurity, ROP, camp


We have two boys Peter, age ten and Christian, age eight. Christian is blind due to ROP. Last summer we decided to try again and register Christian for summer Life Skills camp at TSBVI. The summer of 200 we signed him up but there was no room for him, which was okay for us because we were not ready for that step yet. In May, we received a letter that Christian was accepted to attend summer camp in July, 2009. Although, still not sure if we were ready I sent in all the forms that were necessary.

Summer came and we still had June to prepare for the trip to Austin. Soon July was here and we were ready for the trip to TSBVI. I had made arrangements for Peter and me to stay at my brother’s house in Austin so we could be close.

The day we arrived in Austin, my husband Pete, who had to go back to work in Harlingen, decided that he didn’t want to send Christian to the school because he had a runny nose. He wanted to turn around and take Christian back home. He still wasn’t ready for this step yet.

Because I spent weeks packing and getting emotionally ready for the trip, I didn’t want to just turn around and go home, so we talked and we decided that this experience was going to be good for Christian and for us. Going through the steps to take Christian to his dorm was easy. The hard part was to leave there without our son. I think it was harder for my husband, but we did it.

The next four days we would call Christian but he did not want to talk to us; I think he was having too much fun. Family and friends would call us to see how we were and we were doing just fine. Peter and I spent a lot of time together and we had a good time in Austin. The day came to pick up Christian and we were excited. We got to his room and gathered all his belongings, which were already washed, and sat down to talked to the staff. They also had pictures to show Christian’s activities which they put in an album for us. Everyone said they enjoyed working and playing with Christian.

On our way home Christian, whose speech is very limited, talked about the pool, rides he went on, the boat, and pizza. That was the first time I could understand he was describing things he did in school.

As first timers at Summer Camp, I think it went very well and I hope Christian can attend next summer. Thank you TSBVI for a great summer camp experience.