Peer Buddies are neurotypical children ages 7 through 17. These individuals join us for the day camp sessions and work cooperatively with their assigned Courageous Acres Counselor to provide a meaningful camping experience for one peer with disabilities within the same age range. The Peer Buddy must be positive, enthusiastic role models and friends to our campers and have a caring, compassionate heart.
A Peer Buddy is a volunteer that is a typically developing, same-aged student that is paired up with a camper with a disability at Courageous Acres. Being a peer buddy encourages positive social interactions and social relationships to develop between students with and without disabilities.
Here are expectations for your child interested in becoming a buddy:
• Remember to keep things you see and hear confidential. It is important that private information is not spread around.
• Treat the campers with disabilities the same as you would your friends without disabilities.
• Be open and honest.
• Do not give pity to or ‘baby’ your buddy. Remember that your buddy is the same age as you and wants to be treated as such! Empathy, or considering what it would be like to walk in your buddy’s shoes, however, is always appropriate.
• Have patience. Do not rush with your time.
• Listen to everything that your buddy says to you. Many students with moderate to severe disabilities communicate in different ways. Pay attention to all ways that your buddy may be communicating with you (behavior included). They may use a communication device or a communication book.
• Be positive, not negative.
• Deliver praise for a job well done.
• Stay motivated.
• Develop a positive relationship with all campers. This will help all of us have more fun. Let campers with and without disabilities know that you care.
• Ask and listen to what your counselor has to say.
• Use humor and have fun.
• Always keep an open ear and eye to learn from everyone in the camp.