OKLAHOMA CITY, OKLAHOMA — Some coloring books, a little wandering, maybe a puzzle you’ve done a thousand times. These OKC Metro teenagers might be stuck doing this kind of thing all day if they weren’t already at a place called Camp Tumbleweed.
On a Friday morning we find them picking teams for a quick volleyball game. Jennifer Jackson is head counselor for a dozen special needs teens at the Dale Rogers Training Center. Many of them are students here during the school year, but this week is mainly about fun. “And that is, I think, the biggest reward in what we do,” she says. “To see these guys having fun.”
Joseph Caruthers would be running errands with his dad if he weren’t here. While that might sound pretty fun for some boys, as a 17 year old, no dis-respect intended, but he says he’d much rather throw water balloons. “It’s about being with friends and going on field trips,” he argues, “and doing stuff that will help you in everyday life.”
As with most really good teachable moments, these kids aren’t aware they’re still learning social skills, how to be more independent, how to handle themselves even when they’re excited. Jennifer says, “It doesn’t feel like work.”
Tumbleweeds tend to blow wherever the wind takes them. These tumbleweeds, with a little watering, are sinking the deep roots that will help them weather any storm the future may hold.
For more information about the Dale Rogers Training Center or their camps for special needs teenagers log on to http://www.drtc.org/