A few months before the start of camp this year, Matthew’s parents divorced and his dad received full custody of Matthew. As a result, his dad had to find childcare for the summer, but was struggling financially due to the recent change in family dynamics. He learned about the scholarships available through the Y and was able to enroll Matthew in all 10 weeks of summer day camp.
Staff immediately noticed that while Matthew was very talkative and inquisitive with the counselors, he was shy and withdrawn with the other campers his age. His dad informed the staff that there were no other young children in his neighbor and he had struggled to make friends at school. So the staff set the goal of helping him build friendships and develop new relationship skills while at camp. Knowing that Matthew loved to help the counselors, they used this to help him learn new skills. The Director asked Matthew to pass out the plates to other campers at lunch time and instructed him that he needed to greet each of the campers and tell them what was for lunch. As the weeks went by, Matthew began to talk to the other campers more- first during lunch time, then during the other activities. During the second half of the summer, Matthew asked if instead of passing out the plates at lunch, if he could sit with the other kids in his group. His confidence also began to grow in other areas, as he became more willing to try new things.
Matthew’s dad was so excited with the difference that he saw in Matthew. He recently informed the staff that the changes have translated to school. His dad said that he has made many new friends.