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Understanding the true value of our gift

This year the Essex Lions Club sponsored Marlee to attend the Green Mountain Lions Camp.  For many of the campers this is a rare occasion to be surrounded by other youths that share the bond of using American Sign Language as their primary language.  I met one camper’s father who helped me to understand the significance of this gift.  Outside of camp his son’s only opportunity to improve his signing comes through interaction with his signing parents and those signing enhancement opportunities that they can provide.  Both of his parents have their hearing and had to learn to sign, but their signing isn’t as good as it could be.  Like all Vermont deaf youths their son was mainstreamed into public school, but their son’s public school interpreter isn’t even as proficient as the parents are.  As of 2017 Vermont and Maryland remain the only two states who have yet to establish a certification process for Public School ASL interpreters.  Many public schools view ASL interpreters as paraprofessionals and their actual ASL skillset may be quite lacking.  Camp truly is a place where these kids can learn and grow.

With that in mind here is a photograph of Marlee (on left) on her first day at Green Mountain Lions Camp in Cabot.  It’s a great reminder why we Lions strive to assist our community. 

This week, the 22 GMLC campers will participate in several activities including horseback riding, Circus Smirkus, on site swimming and boating and of course home cooked meals and evening camp fires.

The last day of our 2018 camp is this Saturday 7/21. If you have time please join us for lunch and a quick clean-up after.

We Lions provided an unparalleled summer experience to 32 kids that will help them learn and grow throughout their lifetime.  Camp is providing a foundation of language skills and friendships that are priceless.  THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT!