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Mt Hood Kiwanis Camp 083015

Aug 25, 2015|

AN INTERVIEW WITH KALEEN DEATHERAGE, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR AT MT HOOD KIWANIS CAMP, AND ANN FULLER, PROFESSOR OF SPECIAL EDUCATION AS PSU, ABOUT THEIR CAMP FOR PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES AND THE SPECIAL RELATIONSHIP THEY HAVE WITH PSU AND PSU STUDENTS.

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Automatically Generated Transcript (may not be 100% accurate)

This is McChrystal and Entercom radio Portland public affairs program I'm Gary blocks and and this time on the show we're gonna learn all about summer camp. Even though summer is kind of wrapping up. Melt could call on his summer camp just had a very successful season for also gonna learn about the relationship with Portland state university and like to welcome Caylee got bridge executive director of mountain who won this campaign and bulletin professor of special education at Portland State University welcome a microscope. Thanks Karen thank you so campaign. Cameras can't discount Iraq operate in T last week was the combination. Of our summer season. So this year we serve just felt 525. Campers. During our eight week summer camp which went from mid June Tim in August. And then we finished up that night tweak with Stanley camp so we actually invited. Younger campers then we generally invite to come solo to camp. To attend for four days with their parents and siblings that the new program we've got to just last couple years and we had about 45 more people that final week. In that unique comic dammit can't experience. Newman could call on this campus is that a little bit different on the on the camper site right so tell us about melted Cohen has kept its unique absolutely it is unique Gary. Medical honest camp empowers. Children and adults with disabilities. And so what we strive to do. Is take the benefits that come from an outdoor camp experience. The independents and the empowerment. The opportunity to be away from home in Chinese things that many can't that many kids kids. When they go to a YMCA camp for a boy or girl scout camp creek church camp. We want to offer those same opportunities. But individuals with disabilities. And we do that by taking those traditional programs. Hiking rafting can you mean. Adventure courses swimming horseback riding. And adapting man so let someone that has a physical or cognitive developmental disability. Can still find complete success. And the opportunity to try some things that otherwise may not be available that. And Melvin wanna skip has been going on for many years are for many years and actually started in 1933. And during the depression as serving children were economically disadvantaged. And then for the first time in 1950. We offered a week for kids that have disabilities. And by 1957. We had such incredible success. Was serving individuals with disabilities that we changed our entire mission. And since that year we have been solely dedicated to serving people that have disabilities. What's we're sort of special accommodations are available at camp it's gotta be set up differently than a regular camp yes that's a great question and it's a really important part of how we are who we are and how we work if you think about their activities that we offer or sale let's talk about horseback riding for a minute. I'm assuming that I have maybe terrible policy or some type of a condition where I don't have the muscular skeletal control. That most people have therefore I can't sit on a horse independently. Because I can't keep my balance or hold my body upright. Now imagine saddle that's like an armchair at the end of your dining room table it has the Bakken and has arms. And because I am in that adaptive saddle I now have the opportunity to ride a horse independently. And perhaps send someone who is wheelchair bound and has never locked so that opportunity to ride that horse and an end GAAP to saddle. Might be my very first experience. Of the sensation of walking. That's not an economist camp. Same thing happens in the pool where I might have a a water will chair slackened transition you. From a charity to the pool or in the pool some of the limitations of your body might have. I'm in our let's have a hindrance because you're in the water. Or out of the adventure course I can put you in a special harness and adaptive harness so that you can successfully Camerota Waller right has that line. I do some of those activities that other lives. You find are not approachable because in the mainstream world. Those adaptations that are necessary to make Q and able to participate are often not available. Sounds like such a wonderful place to be the app it's it is probably am. The most. Heart warming sold filling the place that I get to spend any of my time you know we just talked about how the programs are adapted. And but perhaps even bigger than that is is the human adaptation you know how weak. Provide one on one support. To our campers every camper has their own independent and dedicated counselor. And then beyond that we've got staff with a tremendous brat that special scalable. From none behavior specialist to speech and language pathologist. To. Individuals that I am you know focus and exercise science occupational and physical therapy. All of that rich support. So that we can help somebody that has a disability. How that sense of independence and to film my and they can be safe and healthy. Outside of their home environments for a week at camp. You said you had over 500 campers the summer's over 500 about 500 to money to be exact that's very significant to have one on one for all 500 of those absolutely and they're all the same time obviously correct we have we see about sixty years so campers a week but I mean sixty counselors. And then about fifty staff on top of that selected. It is a very. Active environmentalist a lot of individuals. That are dedicated. To making it possible for the sixty to 65 people to have that week he can't. Give a lot of returning campers every year. We actually have campers that have been coming to camp almost as long as I've been here you know I think that we've got campers that they're thirty or forty years they have been coming to camp. And in fact he we usually and our summer our eighth week. And is usually what we call alzheimer's week and that's not met with any dangerous that in fact that is that is just so many campers hue and if we don't do anything right they'll let us know because they've been around the program program longer than we have and they know it's so well. And that they're almost like junior staff that week it's it's really. And powerful to see how integrated. Camp has become in their lives the degree to which. That is a part of what they do every year they identify with that they own it when they come to camp. They're going to their home and I think we the staff and the counselors and all the donors and volunteers. I just thought facilitators to bring them back to their summer home. And that's what makes it's powerful. What are some of the pilots from summer camp the summer. Guess there's so many I am sort of pick of the initial part of does that dismay if you highlights I I think we are able. To do a couple of things this summer and I'm really proud of the top of that list. Because I love that. Limitations that some of our campers. Experience and their disability. And particularly those who have really serious mobility challenges. Some of those individuals get physically really large their dismay they become heavy or overweight. Because their bodies don't give them the opportunity. To get the normal exercise that that most of us get. Some of them programs that we offer camp by horseback riding or canoeing or the ability to go on is that Kleiner time Iraq while. Naturally I mean how an upper weight limit where it's safe to have someone on some of those elements. As we struggle every year with some campers to we really want doing gauge in full participation. But because of their body size it's hard to do that and make sure that our inability to keep them safe. And so this year I am a couple of new things happened that created a much greater opportunity for some of those individuals to participate. On the first is out at our. Adventure course. We created a new I'll call it an obstacle course so a lot of our elements require that you be harnessed in your going up in the air. And that's for that harness is gonna have a weight and I met. But this new element. Is an on the ground obstacle course where you work your way through a number of challenges to get from platform to platform. And we did that. Primarily be built it as a way to give campers something to do while they were waiting for their turn on the high elements. But we didn't anticipate. How incredibly powerful it would be that for the first time in a number of years. This low element gave some of our heavier campers. I really authentic and enriching way to participate out on the adventure course that hadn't been available and by the end of summer. Got benefit of this new element meant more to us. Then the ability to to kind of help manage some of the downtime. And then up at the horse corral. We actually and if any of you have ever seen or worked with a mini horse so I'm not talking about a pony. I'm actually talking about a miniature horse that's about the size of a large donkey now though the horse's head as it out of my waist. I'm so very approachable for our campers because she Disco is her name. She was pretty long it disk hill although she could only cut fifty pounds on her back she can poll. On two and a half times her weight so Disco can pull 700 pounds. Which means we couldn't put a cart attached to Disco look she's learned how to pull a cart. And now some of our campers who are too big to write our courses because of her says can't handle their body weight. Those individuals can participate up the course corralled by riding in the cart with discount so that that was new for us this summer Gary and one of the things I'm really proud of because. We pride ourselves son. Trying to find a way that every single person in camp to participate in this was a big new development for us this summer that's great the addition of Disco. That in addition to Disco you got it. So do campers get to experience real traditional old camping things like moon roasting marshmallows campfire and singing songs and I really it would be kept up this anxiety he didn't start I was flag and if he didn't makes more is going to be in the eyes stream in sync apps songs. It wouldn't be camp and I and that's a huge part of what we're doing is taking that. That can't call sir that opportunity to be a part of the songs in the skits in the camp fires and the activities and the bonding in meeting new people and that slipping away from home and and down encountering people that are different and you are that to me it's camp regardless of what camp here in a way that campus that. And done that element of camp. Is present and radicalize camp as it is that all the great camps around our country and making lifetime friendships and memories totally incredible memories absolutely. Our our campus do that with each other. Even more than that they think our campers make up on their counselors unless some of our staff. Yeah and my its Versa absolutely. But the once again injuries and Fullerton professor of special education at Portland State University. They don't Malick wants camp in Portland State have had a very special relationship for many years in could you tell about that. Yes I would I would be happy to. This action in a partnership between the university and the camp for 43 years. And it first started. Back in 1972. When. The beginning of special education that actually the right to education. Became. Available in this country through legislation. And that's the first time in America that public schools began to include kids with disabilities. In public education. So they camp the clients had already been. Serving people with disabilities at this camp since 1956. But they read an article in the paper and it said that this news special education. Teacher read program was gonna start at Portland State. And they got to thinking well. Maybe d.s people in special education in this new feel of my eight. Have some ideas for us at our camp so they approached what worthy just to faculty at the time. And it. Out of that we can a practice come to help nude. Tests to students learning to become teachers. To learn how to teach that. I'm daily living skills and and promote social interaction and communication. So became a learning lab for people who are going to be teachers. And it stayed in the kind of smaller practice come capacity until 1993. This is a bit long but all shared and the big change that then happened and kind of the model that we've been doing together Caylee in an ice since that time. In 1993 Portland State decided we're going to really build into the undergraduate curriculum. Community based learning we want our faculty did go out there. And build learning partnerships with businesses with researchers with everybody. And send our students out in a required courses seniors. To really engage in the community. We kind of want to. Really buys this notion of a liberal arts education and make it more real make it more connected get rid an ivy tower if you will. Well I had. Where did this the camps since I was thirteen and now on the faculty member Portland State and when this opportunity happen I said oh my gosh this is wonderful. Because this would mean not only people who want to be teachers. But people who want to be business people who are graphic arts major architects this means that everybody. Could have this experience. At camp. And have been as a community based learning course. Think of it as an immersive service learning course if you well. So on that's when we shifted and now we and we grew together in the sense that we have over 200 college students at camp every summer. Completing what's called a senior capstone. Experience. But it lets people who aren't going to become teachers or going human services. Have a chance to really get to know. In a real one to one relationship way. People that they otherwise would never meet. What sort of impact do you think this is had on students that have gone through this program. We we've. Seeing Caylee in a nine and the staff every year the strong impact that happens right after camp. The students write a post reflection paper as as their final assignment in the class. And they learned a tremendous amount on from the like one of the things they say today when they pursue their training as these two weeks are not about EU. These two weeks are about somebody else so we set that stage for for true immersive service. But that they take away so much in terms of really. In a way of the faculty are the camper participants I'm not the faculty the camera participants are the teachers here in the and they teach amazing lessons. So there's a lot that comes right after camp. But more recently we had a chance to do so long term follow up with graduates we were curious. Well you know maybe it's a great experience at the time. But doesn't have any lasting impact on a graduate. So we had a chance to to look into the act which told us just that much more now. So what so what sort of impact of people it's it impacts the rest of their lives and assuming you know I'm you know I think K alien and I and other staff anticipated that. The a graduate. What we did as we randomly sampled twenty of the graduates out of those 3000 that had done that well up to that that's that's I randomly sampling and you're. You know stacking the deck in anyway. And we called them up and we did this phone interview with them. And we we thought you know hopefully we're gonna hear things along the mission that Caylee mentioned of I've become I begin become more comfortable. And and more able to be an ally or an advocate for someone with disabilities who I might meet my neighborhood. Who I might. Meet in the workplace or in the community. I'm as Caylee was was talking about it to me this morning it's this kind of view. You get comfortable enough that you also can model for others how we should. Be inclusive of everyone in the workplace in the neighborhood accent or. So I hope to win we would find some of that and we got a lot of powerful stories of the person who is now. Up post delivery person and how the people on their route she's just really able to connect. Or on the person you said I worked alongside someone in the workplace and I've really been able to be that ally. But. Something that really surprised me. Was that there was a bigger generalized impact. From again the teachers who were the camper participants. And so I I was hearing over and over in interviews things like. That's the two weeks in my life when I learned. To never. Judge a book by its cover. From the don't ever take the first impression I have of another human being and make assumptions about. What's really going on with them what. What they care about why they're behaving the way they are. But wait and learn more and I heard that over I heard that from. A captain in the military from a stewardess. From a person and customer relations who is talking to people on the phone all day for a bank you know you can see how that lesson. Does generalize too so many other things so. There won't there we're deeper lessons. Of those nature. Two to just have a different outlook about my relationship. With others in the world. The second really big area was area. Learning how to communicate with other people at a whole other level because many of our camper participants are non verbal. So we use visual systems and other things too. To really you can build a rich fabulous relationship. With someone just based on non verbal communication. And so they also had a chance to learn that but that hold there. Ability to read situations and communicate again in many contacts and me shared those examples. How invaluable slip by asking a kind of very transferable. Skills to the work. Place to your relationships. That are. Killing what does it meant to have PSU so involved in melted when it's Kemp. I think at this point and they can't and the university are so. Integrated in how we've partnered to deliver camp. That it would be difficult to take us apart and we can they are I share that to say that they are really a part of the fabric. Of the camp and our philosophy about how old we deliver it. There's there are many many benefits that the university brains. Son very tangible things like. Access to. Time professors in the research that they're doing and access to best practices in the latest research in the Phyllis special special education. And and serving individuals that have disabilities. And we we are greatly enriched at camp because of that and able to be. On the cutting edge of applying. What is being learned and developed to benefit our campers. But he didn't candidly. I think there is this. Com. There's a synergy. That exists between NASA and there is this benefit that and it's talking about. Add to the individuals students that come up and spend. Two weeks at our camp many of our staff. Our former counselors and so they come up and they have that to reach experience and they are so. And touched or moved or motivated by it that they choose to and remain involved you know on their own time. And that is. Really core to the the culture that we have on our camp and then. The amount of energy and self that our staff provide to our campers. To help them how that experience and the amount every set to goodness. To our campers. With what ever. Abilities or disabilities are they bringing to camp all of that kind of goes in this environment. Where we learn and share with each other and I think that Portland State has helped us create that culture. Where I am there aren't the helpers and the helped. In the sense that they campers are the helps and the staff encounters are the helpers but that everybody. Is bull helped and helped direct campaign. It's a little bit hard to aid to communicate what that feels like. I am and tell you I think camp and see Ed but those of us that it had the privilege to be a part of it. Really experience it and and in no way unstated suggest. A foundation. For how we how we offer our program and why it works. Summer camp. Changes lives it's and it sounds like no going to skimp in release of a Portland State it's did seem to a lot of lives in bridging so many times yeah yeah I'm adding ants that are really well it is. It's easy to look at how we impact. The kids and adults that come to us has campers and and they tell us all so. In a variety of ways how are they a leave camp with the greater sense of I have value and I matter a greater sense of I can make connections to people that are. Important to me an important to people that I connect with. I may be more willing to try something because I was able to try something I can't and I have the courage to try it in my home environments. But the other side of that coin. Is the impact on the counters in the staff and the donors and the families. To realize is. And that the weight is that we as people are alike. Far outnumber the way is sobered different. And I think it can't experience gives that every one regardless of the camp but because of the unique. Individuals that we bring together our camp and the way in which we do it. That lesson is perhaps learned. I'm with even more are impact and and people walk away from camp. Really truly changed. And in most cases. Anxious for the next opportunity to engage. And because that's feels really good then and it's powerful and and it changes your outlook to the world and gosh what more can we hope. To accomplish then to give people Paz. And have them think about how being cage what the world and how they might do it differently because of an experience that was really the touch them in a core way. Now congratulations on and successful summer camp for 2015. So it was a great thank you very much very quickly when when is when the skip next year. And I don't think we have our official start date yet though we're gonna be right around the twentieth of June. Our camper registration more open the second week of January. Our website at WW WM HKC dot org we'll how all of our registration information. After any families that are interested and they are welcome to give us a call. And that talk more about our program and of course our excited for the next group of students sub only from Portland State next summer as well lost. Caylee Guthridge executive director medical wants camp and imports and professor of special education Portland State University fixer and a microscope today thank you thanks Gary. Metals gold was an Entercom communications and public affairs program my name's Gary and if you have a nonprofit or public affairs organization that you'd like to let others know about. You can email me at microscopes @entercom.com. Remember intercom starts with a need for you can go directly to the station's website click on the community link and submit your information there. Also we like to hear this program again you can visit our podcast paged pat microscope PDX dot com. Thanks for listening to microscope and enjoy your weekend.