The Words of the Tashiro Family

Special Needs Summer Camp Report

Tashiro Nobue and Tashiro Jamille Borer
August 10, 2007

We completed our first special needs family camp at New Hope Farms in NY that our True Parents established in 1989.

Seven families each with a special needs child (one family with two children) participated in the camp. We gathered Thursday late afternoon so that the families could set up their tents. Yes, we camped out on the grass near the main house! After dinner, we had the orientation, introducing ourselves. We matched each special family with two BC volunteers and they met and got to know each other briefly. We could not have had this camp without second generation volunteers to assist all the special campers.

On the morning of Friday, while the campers were riding a horse in the morning, all parents gathered in the state-of-the-art indoor arena VIP lounge and gave their testimonies about their children. Sometimes it was tearful. Each family had a different and yet difficult course. It was not easy to hear their stories but was also comforting at the same time to know that this constant daily struggle was not burdened on one parentís shoulders but was shared in common by all SN families. This sharing continued through the next day. Also, we discussed how to improve the ministry and the camp to make it an annual event. Even though we want to expand the number of participants, it hinges on how many volunteers we can get.

In the afternoon of Friday and Saturday, the campers and their BC partners walked into the woods and a river for fun and scavenger hunting. Then a little bit of quiet time to watch a video or do crafts followed by a snack. We had karaoke on Friday night and a campfire on Saturday.

On Sunday morning, the parents had an opportunity to watch their children ride a horse. Most of the children had never had a chance to ride a horse before this weekend. A few had been even afraid to touch an animal bigger than a dog. As a rider came around the gate where all of us were standing, we gave the rider big cheers and the riderís face lit up. It was a such an uplifting moment to see those special needs children smile ear to ear as though they were on top of the world.

The volunteers then had a chance to ride as well, and some who are accomplished equestrians were able to jump and canter. We then had to say goodbye after lunch, promising to see one another again next year.

What we had hoped for all participating parents was that they might realize that they were not alone in raising their special needs children and that they were blessed to be raising their children in a different way. The secondary wish for this camp was that the volunteers might realize that they could learn something from assisting those nearly helpless-looking campers (in a few cases), and those less-abled than themselves.

Our impression was that this was a great success for the first camp, though there was a lot of room for improvement. We want to say "Thank you very much" to all those who helped this wonderful kick-off special needs camp. The beautiful helpers were:

Heung-yul (Henry) Taylor
Jung-Hye Taylor
Shin-yul Taylor
In-hye Taylor
Josh Ellanson
Erica Ellanson
Christina Ellanson
Marisa Melchiorre
Danny Melchiorre
Rosa Melchiorre
Sara Melchiorre
Will Melchiorre
Camille Hannah Boyd
Erika Ichijo
Keishu Perry
Hatchi Tashiro
Nobue Tashiro
Jamille Borer

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