An Experience at Stepping Stones Summer Camp Casts a Ripple Effect – Impacting Countless Lives
Date posted: May 7, 2018
Casting a Ripple Effect at Stepping StonesFor 19 year-old college sophomore Katie Perry, witnessing ‘moments of victory’ with Stepping Stones’ campers was the stone that cast a ripple effect – inspiring her to major in special education.
“I realized after getting to know these incredible campers on a one-on-one basis, watching them grow and growing with them, that this is what I want to do with my life,” Katie explains. “It is such an eye-opening experience to work with individuals with disabilities. It gives you deeper compassion, empathy and respect.”
Growing up in Norwood, Katie first joined Stepping Stones as a volunteer at the age of 13. Upon graduating from Roger Bacon High School, she joined our summer staff team. Today, she returns home from her special education studies at Bowling Green University on the weekends for Saturday Kids Club and will once again be at day camp this summer.
The Ripple Effect
Each year, 140 staff and more than 700 volunteers create memories and make a difference in the lives of 400 individuals at Stepping Stones’ Summer Day Camp. For nine weeks, campers find pathways to independence, express themselves, make friends and have fun in a safe, structured environment.
A summer camp experience at Stepping Stones launches a ripple effect that spreads throughout the community and lays the foundation for future career paths.
Like Katie, many Stepping Stones volunteers and camp staff are inspired to pursue a college education in related fields. It’s a life-changing experience that launches careers in occupational therapy, physical therapy, special education, medicine and nursing.
Bonding with Campers, Individually
At Stepping Stones, Katie was paired with Sebastien. Working together one-on-one, the two developed a bond in Summer Day Camp and Saturday Kids Club that has helped the 12-year-old boy with autism blossom throughout the years.
In watching Katie interact with his son, Sebastien’s father Marvin describes her as “heaven sent”.
“She got to know Sebastien so well,” said Marvin. “She knew that singing his favorite song would ease the transition between activities — something a typical summer camp does not offer.”
“The fact that counselors like Katie do this – lovingly, consciously and competently – speaks volumes about the organization.”