The first time Brooke Biddle overheard a young teen in a public setting use the term “special needs” in a degrading manner, her heart ached. Her daughter Finley is classified as having special needs and Brooke was still coming to terms with this. Hearing her daughter’s diagnosis used as an insult led Brooke to decide to come to Victory Lane’s June camp session.
“I definitely had hesitations about camp,” Brooke expressed. “I am new to the area and not a typical social butterfly-type, so it was way out of my normal comfort zone.”
Brooke was not the only one with hesitations. Miles away, the Alexander family wrestled with uncertainty as well. The Alexanders knew camp founders Brett and Paige Fischer and were familiar with Victory Lane, but they hadn’t been to camp before.
“I was very hesitant with all that was going on in our personal lives and the insecurity of not knowing what to expect,” noted Jennifer Alexander. Jennifer, her husband Phil, and their children served as a Partner Family. Their role was to make sure that Brooke and Finley had whatever they needed to enjoy their week at camp. It didn’t take long for the Biddles and the Alexanders to form a connection.
“The Alexanders were perfect…so sympathetic, understanding, compassionate, and inviting. I love how sincere they were about their intentions of understanding special needs kiddos,” Brooke added.
The feelings of admiration were mutual, as Jennifer appreciated Brooke’s openness to “jump right in, make new friendships, and do things out of her comfort zone for Finley.”
During each camp session, parents attend workshop sessions while their kids engage with Partner Families and other children. This gives parents the chance to connect while kids enjoy camp life.
“My favorite memory would have to be when I came out of the parent meeting to witness Finley having the time of her life with her TIMs [Teens In Missions are teenagers who are intentionally partnered with a child who has a disability as their buddy]. I could see the happiness radiating through her,” Brooke shared. “I knew I had made the right decision about going to camp, and I felt completely at peace.”
The Biddles and Alexanders plan to remain connected even though the camp session has ended. Jennifer and Brooke have already continued communicating and the families are getting together soon.
Jennifer summed it up this way: “I may not feel like I always have the right words to say, but I realize that we all need friendships.”
When you support Victory Lane, you make it possible for families like the Biddles and Alexanders to connect and learn from one another. To learn more about supporting Victory Lane, visit victorylanecamp.org.