“Two years ago, my son spent his first night away from home (without family) as part of a Summer L.I.F.E. program. This was an incredibly important experience for him. I think it helps him become more independent, flexible and to learn what it is like to live with peers. None of that is important to him, of course, because he is simply having fun. My son looks forward to returning to Summer L.I.F.E. every year now.” — Carol L., mother of Brian
“Cass’s camping experience at VFES’ Summer L.I.F.E. was wonderful. Cass was able to bond with other teens. Cass said that he made friends and really enjoyed all of the outdoor experiences. I want to thank VFES for making my son’s summer a memorable experience.” — Estelle R., mother of Cass
“My son was 18 before we found Summer L.I.F.E. Although he was classified as learning disabled in school and didn’t have many friends, he had never been diagnosed as having Asperger’s or as being on the Autistic Spectrum. All I knew was that he was having trouble socializing at home and once summer came, he had virtually no interaction with others his own age.
I was a bit skeptical when I learned about Summer L.I.F.E. I was afraid Justin’s poor social skills would hold him back in an environment where he slept away from home. Justin was nervous as well – even though we toured the facilities before his summer experience was to start. Still, he was willing to try.
How relieved I was when he called home during the week to say that he was having a wonderful time! Although he had been to ‘traditional’ day camps when he was younger, Summer L.I.F.E. had things that he had never done before – like his favorite activity: the zip line. He also enjoyed evening events such as bonfires.
What impressed me the most was the boost to his self-esteem after camp was over. He found that he can make friends and use his own facilities to enjoy himself – which is something that he has never learned in school. We hope that time allows him to attend camp next year as he is already looking forward to it!” – Randy F., Mother of Justin
“The staff are always so positive, warm and fun and they teach the children so much. My son benefits greatly and I cannot praise your programming enough. It is well planned, organized, and structured. It seems to me the children are so well supervised with good staff:student ratios, and yet given opportunities to stretch their wings.” — Dr. Christina Jackson
“I feel your trips have opened up a whole new world for our daughter and that she will continue participating. “ — Lauren E., mother of Emily
“I felt the program really nurtured my son. I felt very safe with him going there. It was very well organized and thought out as to each child’s needs. I knew every day that he was in good hands and that he would not be coming home upset or frustrated because any social kinks were worked out by the experts at the camp. I cannot thank you enough for providing such a stellar program suited for children who learn differently, behave differently. We need a whole summer of this!” — Maureen Martinez, mother of Ricky
“Each time John has taken a trip I have seen him gain a little more confidence. He doesn’t get as worried or stressed because he sees he can be successful and enjoy himself.” — Dolly Pagnoni, mother of John