Like many parents, Laurie Clothier wasn’t quite sure what to do. Her daughter Kelby had been diagnosed with dyslexia. Laurie had secured a private tutor, but realized the tutor was only helping her keep up with her current workload; Kelby wasn’t making the progress she imagined. The bright 7th grader was reading at a first grade level. “Dyslexia turned our family around,” Laurie says. “I worked full-time, got home, and then spent another three or four hours with Kelby, trying to help her keep up with homework. I literally read her books with her.”
A Google search to find a summer program in Texas, where the family lived, was unsuccessful. Laurie widened her search, looking for programs where other family members lived. Camp Spring Creek, it turned out, was a two-hour drive from her father.
“After speaking with co-founder Susie van der Vorst, we made a leap of faith, and signed her up for the whole summer. It was scary, particularly because Kelby had never been away from home for more than a week.”
They saw huge improvements over the course of that first summer. A month slipped by, and Laurie opened Kelby’s weekly letter home. “I started crying,” she says. “It was the first letter where I could read every word, where every sentence was coherent.”
The transformation overjoys Laurie. “There was a time when Kelby lied about who she was. Camp Spring Creek helped her realize she’s not alone. This year, she has a new set of friends who accept her as she is. She realizes she’s not stupid, and in fact, has been getting straight A’s. Although she still struggles somewhat with reading, she does most of her homework on her own now. She’s gained so much more confidence.
Beyond learning to read and write in a manner that corresponds to how she sees things, Laurie has seen other gifts emerge from Kelby’s time at camp. “Kelby was so excited to learn in a traditional summer camp setting where she got to play hard, too. Thanks to some of the camp’s program’s she becoming a budding photographer.”
There are those who have wondered why Laurie has invested so much in a summer camp. Laurie is clear. “The way I look at it, I’m paying her college tuition now because without Camp Spring Creek, there’d be no way Kelby could be going to college. I was clear we needed to get her to read now. I’d pay it all again without the slightest hesitation. In fact, she’s going back to camp for one more season. She’s a completely different girl. Camp Spring Creek opened a whole new world for Kelby. I’m eternally grateful.”