Thank you for your continued support of Florida Elks Children's Therapy Services and the
Florida Elks Youth Camp!
Here is how you are making a difference!
As a valued sustaining donor, welcome to the first of our monthly emails containing special news for you about how your support is changing the lives of children every day. We hope you will look forward to these monthly updates, as it is important for us to share with you how your generous donations are being put to use.
For 15 years, the Florida Elks Youth Camp has hosted a family camp weekend for patients of Florida Elks Children’s Therapy Services (FECTS) and their families. The families attend at no cost to them. The 2019 event took place Oct. 4-6 and hosted 50 patients, 107 parents and grandparents, and 68 siblings; 19 FECTS therapists; and 14 OT/PT student volunteers from Daytona State College, University of Florida, Florida Gulf Coast University, and University of St. Augustine, Miami campus. Overseeing the activities were 16 staff members.
Families arrived Friday in time for dinner and ice cream and then attended a costumed dance party in the gym. After Saturday’s breakfast, attendees took part in ropes course activities as well as games, arts and crafts, and archery. They soaked up pool time in addition to time at the lake and in the gym. Following dinner and more ice cream, everyone enjoyed a bonfire before watching a movie. On Sunday morning, activities included coloring totes, pool time, games and fun in the gym.
Family camp is a unique experience for families who have children with special needs in that it is one of the few places they can attend with their children and not feel the need to constantly apologize for or explain their children’s actions to others. This is because every family in attendance inherently understands the complexities of the day-to-day challenges faced by these families. These weekends also act as mini-vacations and offer the chance for families to bond.
Here are some testimonials and a video from families who attended. Their family bonding time wouldn't be possible without you, so please feel proud knowing you helped make this happen!
“Family camp was an awesome experience that gave our family time to connect away from it all. My kids were able to interact and play with all different types of children and it was just such a nice family vacation.”
-- The Muñoz Family:
Olivia, 5; Sam, mother; Mason, 6, being treated for ADHD by therapist Camille Arevalo, MOT, OTR/L; Javier, father; and Logan, 5. Olivia and Logan are twins.
When your daughter is Aspergers, your son is ASD (autism spectrum disorder) and the baby is Microcephaly with a Chiari, you don't find many places that are safe, judgment-free AND everyone can agree on.
....But camp is one of them.
Florida Elks gave us the opportunity to make some priceless memories this weekend at Umatilla, Fla. The family therapy camp weekend allows these kids to have fun, learn, challenge themselves and grow in a safe, loving environment - all at no cost to the families! From the bottom of our very grateful hearts, thank you, Florida Elks. We love you for loving and helping our kiddos succeed!! ️
-- Emily Hayes, parent
Pictured are Caleb and Hope Hayes, patients of Chrissy Nathan, OT, whom both have ASD. Also pictured is their grandfather,
With your continued support, we can continue to offer programs like these that enhance the quality of life for so many families. On behalf of Florida's children and families, THANK YOU!