Being a kid should be fun! The annual summer camp hosted by SKILD (Smart Kids with Individual Learning Differences) develops the character of our students as we build on their strengths and address their unique learning needs. As per our mission to foster an inclusive learning community, this year’s camp partners with WellSpring’s summer camp to allow for SKILD participation alongside children who attend other schools, including Beirut Baptist School (BBS).
WellSpring’s mission is to not only have fun activities for the kids, but also to have them learn something through the activity. Each day has a “huddle time” in which the children gather in small groups to talk about love, care, social values, etc. The juniors learn how to say thank you and sorry, while the older kids are taught that they can and are able to accomplish things by themselves. This set aside time aligns exactly with SKILD’s vision to cater for individuals’ academic, social, and emotional needs to enable them become active citizens within their environment.
As students from different schools interact with the students of SKILD and participate in activities, an inclusive learning community is formed. The children learn together and play together, everyone participating as much as he or she desires. The camp leaders are incredibly enthusiastic, smiling and encouraging the children in each activity. The children are separated into smaller groups with 2-3 camp leaders per group as well as 1-2 SKILD leaders with each group.
One highlight of the camp was when the campers were taken offsite to the Swings activity park in the Upper Matn region. There was a child with learning differences who did not want to participate in the obstacle course at the activity site, only wanted to watch. But after he watched for a bit, he decided he wanted to give it a shot. Many high-fives were given to him and so much encouragement and excitement bubbled out of the camp leaders. After the first section of the course, though, he decided he did not want to continue and turned around to go back to the start. As he took off the harness that kept him safe on the course, he was met with many more high fives as one especially enthusiastic camp leader gave him a big hug and told him “We’re happy you tried.”
The diversity of having children with learning differences in the group brought with it an astonishingly positive vibe that everyone, campers and leaders alike, couldn’t help but feel. “It’s amazing how the whole group’s attitude changes when kids with special needs are around,” says SKILD Director, Hiba Al Jamal. This year’s summer camp is an environment where everyone, regardless of skill-set, can take part in the fun. There is individualized attention for the students that need it, but also freedom and autonomy given to each student to decide where they want to play and how much they want to engage.
SKILD is determined to serve students with different needs, embrace them with God’s love, and help them reach their maximum potential. SKILD’s ministry is comprised of so much more than an annual summer camp, though. For more information on SKILD, email us or visit our website!