Making sure kids are happy and successful
June 15, 2016
“Jaden started YMCA day camp when he was in 1st grade. He’s now 9 years old. We first learned about Y day camp right after Jaden was diagnosed with ADHD. The therapists at his school recommended Day Camp at the Y for the summer. At the time, our focus was on keeping him moving. Stephanie, his mother, works during the day and didn’t want him sitting around. And while there are plenty of other kids in the condo where they live, he tends to get in fights with those kids. We needed a safe place equipped to handle behavior issues that would still be fun and that would work financially. We learned about Y scholarships online and went from there; it was simple.
When Jaden first started camp, we knew right away something good was happening. He would come home worn out and exhausted. We noticed his confidence was improving. He would take on new challenges he wouldn’t have before. More importantly, Jaden made huge progress with his social skills at camp. He’s always had a dramatic personality. His reaction to new kids tended to be, “What?! You want to play with me!?!” He was bossy but he wasn’t a good leader.
Jaden was able to progress socially because of his counselors. Instead of punishing him right away for bad behaviors, they challenged him to think through his problems and identify better ways to approach situations. They worked with him on problem solving and helped build his confidence. Because of their help, he learned to play effectively with other kids. Now, he is able to make and keep friends.
Jaden’s maturity levels soared after his first summer of day camp and have continued to improve since. He now passes on leadership lessons to other kids. He’s also able to pursue his interests. Before camp, he had to focus so much on behavior issues, he wasn’t able to pursue other things he enjoyed, like basketball. Now, he understands the commitment required and has the confidence to pursue these activities.
We put Jaden in day camp to keep him moving and out of trouble. What we didn’t expect was the enormous social progress we would see as a result. For Jaden, developing good social skills requires structure and support. During the school year, he would make progress but then he would lose it during the summer. Day camp fixed this.
Not long ago in school, he was having an issue with one of his friends. At one point in his life this might have lead to a fight. This time, he went to the school principal and asked if he could eat lunch in her office instead of the cafeteria. This way, he could calm down and not get in a fight. He now takes the opportunity to think about his choices before he acts.
The YMCA experience is especially meaningful because of our family. Stephanie is a single mom; I raised her a single mom myself and know firsthand how difficult this can be. Stephanie has to be both mom and dad. This takes all kinds of support. We rely on one another, we rely on his school and on the Y--it really does take a village. He’s my grandson, I want him to succeed. These past few years, we’ve watched him become successful, with help from one another, with the help of the Y and support from our community.”
Jaden’s and his family's story is just one example of the many lives positively impacted by the Macomb Family YMCA over the years. Your donation to one of our fundraiser make more programs to more accessible for the children who need them most, the children of Macomb County. We have the ability to change hundreds of lives for the better but it can only happen if we work together.
100% of the donations made on this page go directly to initiatives at the Macomb YMCA