“One in a million” – that’s how Lynn Paige describes her daughter, Allyson, who is a bright and friendly 17-yearold. Like most 17-year-olds, Allyson loves spending time with her friends (Starbucks and the movie theater top her list of favorite hangouts). And like most 17-year-olds, she looks forward to summer vacation – and camp.
Allyson was born with multiple health issues but has no known syndrome. Without a specific diagnosis, she does not qualify for many programs available to other children with special needs. Because of this, Lynn,
who has always desired to provide a variety of experiences for her daughter, struggled to find a summer camp where Allyson could be included.
When Lynn heard about Camp Sno-Mo, Easter Seals NH’s camp for children and young adults with disabilities and special needs, she was worried that Allyson would not qualify to attend and face yet another rejection. But when Camp Director Rob Kelly invited Lynn and Allyson to tour the facility, Lynn immediately knew her daughter would be happy and safe. To Lynn, Camp Sno-Mo represents pure acceptance, kindness and love. She says, “When no one else will take your child, Camp Sno-Mo will.”
For Allyson, camp is about being herself. “I never felt more able to fit into something,” she says, recounting her first week. “I go to camp and I can be me.” Now, having attended four summer sessions as well as many themed weekend sessions throughout the year, Camp Sno-Mo has become a second home to Allyson with lots of opportunities.
Whether its swimming, the ropes course, hiking or archery, Camp Sno-Mo offers every camper the chance to participate in a wide-variety of activities.
“Camp shows them everything they can do, when the rest of the world tells them what they can’t do,” says Lynn.
And when an activity is challenging for a camper, staff and peers are there to help. Allyson sits a little taller as she recalls a time when she was able to help another camper to finish the walk from one part of camp to
another. Seeing her peer’s challenge, Allyson held out both of her hands, and taking his, completed the journey with him.
“I have a feeling I can make someone else happy and give them hope,” says Allyson of her experiences at camp. Looking forward, Allyson wants to make that feeling the focus of her life. She would like to work with
children with disabilities after completing high school.
To learn more about Camp Sno-Mo, please call 603.364.5818 or visit easterseals.com/nh