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While our programs run year round, summer holds a special place in our hearts.
With our most comprehensive programs in full swing, every site is full of participants and full of fun. Every day we see moments of courage, insight, and kindness. What could be better?
By Scott McLeod, PhD
Snippets from the start of our summer programming at Aspire:
I have the luxury to visit each site for our summer programs and witness the four through 29 year olds in action. It is thrilling to realize that the participants who come to our programs have come to expect to have fun, be accepted, and to connect with others. Quirkiness is expected and accepted. Many know that they can let their guard down a little, and relax.
Of course, staff have done a great deal of work in setting up these environments to maximize this kind of success. A small but telling example: Walking to the next activity, one boy wandered away from the group and started making patterns in the sand. His group leader walked over, made some patterns in the sand with him, reminded him about the next activity and mentioned that his peers were hoping he would be there and they walked on together. Many counselors would have called over and said, “Hey, let’s go, your group wants you.” Not an awful response… Our staff member used her proximity, her joining and her ability to convey information in a manner this child was ready and able to hear. These subtle, and other not so subtle, methods are what we expect from our committed staff.
Putting aside those details, however, in this note I wanted to convey the outcome: Our participants are having fun connecting with others. It’s been a great start to the summer!
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