By Julie Raynor
In August 2011, 60 speech-language pathologists, graduate students and young people who stutter (ages 8-16) attended the inaugural session of Camp Shout Out held at Pioneer Trails Camp on Big Blue Lake near Muskegon, Michigan. Camp Shout Out is an intensive speech therapy and recreation program for young people who stutter and a hands-on CEU training opportunity for speech-language pathologists and graduate students.
Participants came to Michigan from nine different states and Guatemala. Training and treatment coordinator and director Kristin A. Chmela, assisted by June H. Campbell, directed and guided the learning process. Throughout the week, campers participated in individual, small and large group speech therapy sessions that focused on personal communication goals. Speech therapists and graduate students planned and led the therapy activities and also participated in daily ‘problem solving’ trainings with Kristin and June.
All participants stayed overnight in cabins on the camp property and ate meals together in the dining hall, which encouraged spontaneous interactions.
During the week it was difficult to tell who was having more fun, the campers or the adults, in recreational activities such as the zip line, Capture the Flag, King of the Water Mat, or Therapist Hunt. New friendships were formed and everybody learned about the power of communication. It was not unusual to find a group of campers sitting together working on a project during the day or a gathering of speech-language pathologists and grad students on the dock each night having quiet conversations and watching the dark sky full of stars.
One speech-language pathologist stated, “My eyes were opened to the world of stuttering. This week has given me insights on how to conduct therapy sessions with techniques and emotional support for children who stutter.”
For the 2012 session we are excited to add a Leader-In-Training program for older teen campers (ages 16-18) as well as the addition of Kevin Eldridge to the program faculty team. We can’t wait!
Visit campshoutout.org or Stutteringhelp.org.
Editor’s Note: A 2009 SFA Iowa Workshop attendee, Julie Raynor is truly a force of nature. She has done a superb job organizing and promoting this camp. The fantastic publicity she generated attracted children from across the Midwest and even a youngster from Guatemala.
-From the Winter 2012 Newsletter