Anyone who has been to summer camp knows how special it is. The friendships and memories are etched in campers’ hearts for decades. For children with special needs, camp isn’t always possible.
Timber Pointe Outdoor Center makes the magic of summer camp possible for Alex and hundreds of other campers with special needs. Located on 160 beautiful acres on Lake Bloomington, Timber Pointe is designed to offer specialized, inclusive, and adapted programming to meet the needs of each camper. From the nature-lined trails to the zip-line, swimming in the pool or lake and high ropes challenge course, kids of all abilities can experience fun, friendships, and new adventures. Especially kids like Alex.
Alex has been receiving physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech therapy at our Peoria Center for the last 15 years. A severe infection in the first days of his life caused numerous downstream affects in his development. As he aged, his mom noted, “he wouldn’t look me in the face. We didn’t make eye contact, and we were missing out on that important bonding.” A visit to an ophthalmologist provided a diagnosis that Alex was blind. Unsettled, his parents - Angie and Ben - did some research and found a specialist who was able to correctly diagnose Alex with Cortical Visual Impairment (CVI), a disorder caused by damage to the parts of the brain that process vision. Learnings were shared with the therapists at Easterseals and together they could start to make progress.
In the spring of 2021, Alex and his family cut the ribbon, officially opening The ALEX program for CVI. A few months later, Alex and his family took another step in their Easterseals journey, sending Alex to day camp at Timber Pointe Outdoor Center.
“I was hesitant at first,” said his mom, Angie. “but his grandma and his Easterseals therapist convinced me to give it a try. I checked all the boxes, allowing him to try all the activities, assuming they would be scaled-down versions of what other campers experienced. But the amazing counselors at Timber Pointe gave him more than I ever could have imagined. The smile on his face means everything.”