I have this little (okay, kind of big) problem… wherever I go, I don’t really fit in. I feel like a kid amongst grown ups at Bible study (I’m the only one without a husband and children). Same for swimming, as the next-youngest person is probably in her sixties. But if I go to programming directed toward people with disabilities, thus far, I’ve stood out there, too… because I may have some challenges, but with my IQ, I don’t blend in among people with severe MR, either. See the problem?
So there’s summer camp up the road. It lasts a week. I can’t afford it this year, but the director told my mom I could come check it out for a day for free, just to see if I fit in. She thought I would.
Then, when she called me directly, she said, “Sorry, but you’re way too high functioning.” I was confused; when had we discussed functioning levels? How did she know what I could or could not do independently? Was she going by my speech, which comes and, well… completely, entirely goes, too? This camp is for people with all sorts and all levels of disabilities, so there would be people who have physical challenges but are cognitively intact. Wouldn’t I perhaps get along with them?
We agreed that I would try it, for free, for a day.
After three weeks of calling to find out what day was good and what time to be there, she called me back and said, “So you’re coming as staff, right?”
Me? Staff among young adults? Are you kidding? That would be a really, really bad idea. I can hardly handle being staff among 4-6-year-olds, let alone people older than me! I told that I wanted to be a camper. “But you’re SO high functioning.” Gah. Haven’t we been through this?
There was some confusion about cost (she said that I would owe $50 for lunch- what?!- until I told her that I couldn’t eat their food and would bring my own), so I called back today to ensure that staff didn’t need to pay for lunch. The executive director of the entire establishment answered the phone.
“No, your aide won’t need to pay, but you owe 24 hours’ worth of fees, including all meals.”
“I’m only staying for about 4 hours at most, and I’m not eating anything while I’m there. I was told I didn’t owe anything.”
(laughs). “You think you’re getting in for free?! The world doesn’t revolve around you, Lydia! You’re not the center of our universe! We have to cover costs for staffing, and meals, and loding, and…”
“Let me talk to my mom and get back to you. I have no income, so I probably won’t come.”
How rude was that?! Ugh.
My phone rang an hour later and the summer camp director told me that, because I wasn’t eating there and would only be there a few hours, that I didn’t need to pay anything, and that he had been confused. I said, “He didn’t sound confused one bit, but he was extremely rude.”
Anyway, I’m going to go check it out. I think this girl will be surprised when she meets me. Maybe she’s right, that I am too high functioning… but my staff, who worked at the camp for 9 years, doesn’t think I will be.