From Being Open About Stuttering to Attending Camp Shout Out!

Blog by Voon Pang
Sept. 18, 2012

To all those who read my last blog entry, I’m sorry for not posting sooner. After my piece on being open about stuttering, I was fortunate to fly out to Muskegon, Michigan (on a 20 hour flight!) to attend Camp Shout Out. For me it was the perfect opportunity to see everyone be open about their stuttering in a safe and supportive environment. The courage each camper showed in being proactively open and meeting others who stuttered was inspiring!

This year there were 36 campers aged between 8-18 with a new Leaders-In-Training program for the older teenagers.  Out of this year’s 36, about half had attended last year proving that Camp Shout Out is truly a life changing event. Staff members included SLPs, grad students and volunteers with faculty members Kristin Chmela, June Campbell and Dr Kevin Eldridge leading the way in ensuring that everything went smoothly.

Day one was filled with a mixture of nerves, excitement and anxiety, though it seemed like it was harder for the parents than the kids to say goodbye. Days two to five were filled with recreational activities such as swimming, fishing and rock climbing as well as speech modification practice in small teams. Brekkie, lunch and dinner was a communal affair with campers and staff hanging out and getting to know each other. At night, campers slept in shared cabins with a camp counsellor supervising to make sure that everyone went to bed on time.

Highlights from this year included watching campers grow in confidence as the week progressed (a camper directed wrote and directed a skit in front of the whole group), improvements in fluency and communication skills, increased verbal risk-taking (such as telling a joke in front of 50 people) and reduced isolation. Friendships were made, laughter was shared and tears were shed at the end when it was time to say goodbye.

For more information and photos of Camp Shout Out head to www.campshoutout.org SLP’s, if you decide to enroll you get 5.4 hours of ASHA CEUs under your belt! Parents, your child will come back completely different with more confidence in their communication. Plus, they might even teach you a thing or two about being attentive, confident, assertive, effective and proactive communicators!

Finally, a couple of big shout outs...To Julie Raynor – the driving force behind Camp Shout Out. It is because of you children and teens who stutter get to meet others who truly get what it’s like to be them. To the kids I got to work with (you know who you are), keep on being the best communicators you can be and don’t forget to keep talking no matter what! To my wonderful SLP grad student (and partner in crime) Olivia Hazelden, good luck for your final semester.

I’ll always cherish the fond memories of Camp Shout 2012 and will send positive vibes all the way for New Zealand for bigger and better camps each August! 

Until next time, take care everyone :)

 

Comments

Dear Voon,
We were so happy to have you! Thanks to the Stuttering Foundation for their continuing support for this program.
Kristin

What a great blog! My son, Caleb, a 2nd year camper, is still is talking about Voon, Olivia, and of course the entire life changing experience.
Thank you to all the SLP's & grad students for helping our kids have such an amazing week.
Good luck Voon and thanks for coming to Michigan, and making a difference in my son's life.

It was such a pleasure to meet you (& Olivia) and all of the wonderful people who put together Camp Shout Out! Eric had a FANTASTIC time and can't wait until camp again next summer. He has been actively using the skills he learned from all of you. His confidence is much improved and he is stuttering less with almost no blocks, despite starting a brand new school this fall! He has already given a speech @ school and is singing in the church choir. It made a world of difference for him to meet other kids like him!!! Thank you all again sooo much!!! We'll see you next summer:)

Voon, I enjoy reading your blog and becoming more informed about stuttering. Keep up the great work!

Great blog, Voon! And thanks for the Shout Out (haha...)! Great to learn from you, and just about everyone at that camp (yes, even Karl!)
A truly life-changing experience, one I hope to experience again!
Dawn - amazing to meet your family, really, C is one special kid (but you know that already...!), what a leader & serious sports star... Canadian much, eh? ;)
Michelle - once again, thank you for letting us meet your family, they are kind and wonderful people. E for president!?

See you all in the future!
-Olivia

Hi Voon,
I don't know you, but I participated in Illinois with Julie and the faculty staff of Camp Shout Out when they operated Camp Speak Up. It is not only a life changing experience for campers, but professional and graduate staff as well! I am considering trying to get involved next year in Camp Speak Up now because you sparked that excitement in me. My student here went to camp 2 years and it was definitely a positive and rare experience for him. Thanks for making the trip and spreading the word.

Great website! I am loving it!! Will be back later to read some more. I am taking your feeds also