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*Names and identifying information have been changed to protect our clients
Jordan: Building Confidence Through Play
"I want a speaking part in the play," said Jordan* to clinicians at the summer camp at our Children and Family Counseling Center (CFCC).
No one could believe it! Jordan came to camp in July a shy and quiet kid. His stutter and big size for a second grader made him an easy target for bullying. Quickly, Trina, a clinician who was also a counselor at the camp, assigned Jordan a part in the play which is the culmination of the five week summer camp.
Jordan is seen by a clinician each week during the school year to help him through his reactive behavior. When frustrated, he lashes out physically. Kids with behavioral and mental health diagnosis like Jordan aren’t often allowed into community summer camps; their needs are too disruptive to others. The Children and Family Counseling Center (CFCC) summer camp is staffed strictly by licensed clinicians that can help children with mental issues as they arise throughout the day. Clinicians host different stations — sports, art, active games, reading, drama — which the kids rotate through. This format keeps the youth active and helps them build trust with other adults. Jordan is very close with his counselor Julian and he couldn't believe that other kids at the camp had weekly visits with him too! It gave Jordan an instant common bond with the other children, unlike at school when the kids whisper about him leaving class for "special" visits. That bond also helped him with his self-confidence; enough that he wanted to solo in the play.
7 year-old Jordan had his ups and downs at camp. He loved their field trip to the movie Finding Dory which was the perfect ending to the ocean themed camp week. But there were days that he became frustrated and upset. Luckily, he had the self de-escalation techniques Julian had work on with him, as well as many clinicians close by to help.
Without this therapeutic camp, Jordan’s mom is not sure what her options would’ve been this summer. Regular community summer camps were out of the question because of his behavioral and mental health needs and the few private therapeutic camps can run several thousands of dollars. You could see her pride and joy as Jordan recited his solo performance on his love for his favorite football team, The New England Patriots. He did not stumble over his words or stutter. Jordan beamed with confidence as he took his onstage bow at the final day of camp in August.