Mom Connects With ‘A Community That Understands’

When Cindy Cook takes her son Aaron out in public, she can’t help but notice the stares. “People stare at him because he’s different,” Cindy said.

That’s not the case when they are involved at Victory Lane Camp. “At Victory Lane Camp, I’m watching my son in a pool laughing and playing, and people are playing with him and engaging with him.”

Cindy and Aaron became part of the Victory Lane Camp community during the first year after a friend recommended it to Cindy. Her older children were grown and it was just Cindy and Aaron at home. After she saw the connections, she became increasingly involved. Cindy now serves on a pit crew and volunteers every summer. They have been a Victory family and a serving family, and Cindy attends all of the women’s retreats.

“It’s the only community or group of people that I’ve ever been involved with that understand. They just get it—what it’s like to be a parent of a special needs kid,” Cindy expressed. “They get to know the kids and learn who Aaron is. They want to get to know Aaron.”

A few years ago, Aaron hit a memorable milestone when he sat and watched people instructing the dancing during the hoedown at camp. He then did the entire dance with his therapist. The VLC community embraces Aaron’s pace. The next day he wanted to be a pirate, “And it was okay!” Cindy exclaimed.

Cindy has watched camp impact not just her son, but other children as well. “Kids who are ‘normal’ can be impacted by working with special needs families,” Cindy noted. She hopes to build in more help for siblings of special needs kids in the summer ahead. She encourages all families to try a summer camp session.

“It takes a big leap of faith, and it’s really hard for a parent to let their child go to a camp if they have special needs and are non-verbal,” she shared. “I didn’t want my kid going to a camp that I wasn’t involved in. Victory Lane Camp is for the whole family. It’s not just for the kids.”

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