I got up early this morning. Really early. What my mom would refer to as Oh-My-God-O’clock. Luckily, I exist in a world with coffee. Even if coffee’s not your thing, you’re probably going to need something to prop you up. O.o
As you’re reading this, I’m about to board a plane bound for Glade Valley, North Carolina. I assume you’ve heard of North Carolina. I also assume you haven’t heard of Glade Valley, North Carolina. Well let me tell you, in Glade Valley, North Carolina, is a little piece of Heaven on Earth: Camp Cheerio.
Camp Cheerio is literally atop a mountain in the Blue Ridge range. Aside from the gorgeous grounds and high-quality facilities, Camp Cheerio is special to me because of a particular camp it hosts: Spring Cue Camp Cheerio.
Some of you know that I spend part of my working hours as a Cued Language Transliterator. There are children and adults across the US, and, in fact, the world, who are deaf or hard-of-hearing and who use Cued Speech as their main communication mode, or as one of their communication modes. Spring Cue Camp Cheerio is one of the summer camps where people who are deaf or hard-of-hearing, or who have a family member who is deaf or hard-of-hearing can go and have a typical camp experience.
Even though I hadn’t cued to anyone but Beans in about fifteen years. I started going to Spring Cue Camp Cheerio six years ago. Immediately, I was hooked. It’s such a positive atmosphere, for all ages. Most of the teens and adults who volunteer to run the children’s and teens’ programming now grew up as campers themselves. One of those former kid-campers is even the co-chair of the whole camp. Education, training, and traditional camp experiences, as well as social opportunities, are available for attendees, including parents, families, CLTs, and sign language interpreters.
The best part of camp, for me, though, is the people I’ve met and the friendships I’ve made. When you travel, you meet people you probably wouldn’t meet otherwise. Some of these people have become my good friends. And although we might only see each other face-to-face once a year, we stay in touch year ’round. Not only that, but through networking, some job opportunities became available to me that I would not have had have come my way thanks to connecting with new people. You never know what might happen if you take a chance.
So the next time reconnect with a friend you haven’t been in touch with for fifteen years via LinkedIn, and they invite you to a camp half the country away, go ahead and embrace adventure and make that two-day drive. It will be so worth it.
(The first four years that I attended Spring Cue Camp Cheerio, I drove across the country to get there and back. For the past two years, I’ve flown.)
Is there an event that you participated in or participate in annually that’s special to you?
Did you attend camp or another annual event as a child or teenager? If you care to share a memory, please do so below.