Submitted by Tony Gigli ’01 – The Wabash brotherhood reaches into tapestries that are extremely rare. Recently we experienced firsthand exactly just how broad Wabash’s strokes on the world’s tapestry are. Cameron McDougal ‘12, Grayson Swaim ‘12 and Tony Gigli ’01 all were chaperones at a camp for hard of hearing and deaf children sponsored by Hear Indiana . To our knowledge it was the first time ever that all of the male chaperones were Wabash men who are deaf or hard of hearing themselves.
Hear Indiana’s mission is advocating independence through listening and talking. In addition to a summer camp, this nonprofit organization hosts an educational conference, organizes the Talk Walk Run (5K), and provides resources to parents who have children with hearing loss. Grayson is also serving as Hear Indiana’s summer Communications and Marketing Intern. , Cameron has become active with the organization’s ongoing mentoring program, and Tony serves as an active board member and assistant camp director for the group.
For the past 17 years, Hear Indiana has hosted a weekend camp however this year, thanks to generous sponsorships and donations, the organization expanded our program to be a week-long camp. What an enjoyable week it was! We helped out with and participated in numerous activities. Among other things, we assisted with rock climbing, canoeing, challenge wall, trust fall, archery, horseback riding, and kickball.
Cameron McDougal ’12, writes: “As a hearing impaired person myself, I thought that I’d check out the camp this summer and see what it was all about. I never had the opportunity that these kids had growing up, where they can get together with other kids with the same condition. The best part about the camp for me was to show these kids that, despite their hearing conditions, they can still do everything that they want to do. I used to think that my hearing loss would prevent me from doing a lot of activities. But I was able to do everything I wanted to do. From playing high school football, pole vaulting, leading two high school clubs, and getting into a great school like Wabash and being active there. Being able to show kids that despite the hearing condition we can still do everything we want to, was the most rewarding and awesome experience of my summer.
Grayson Swaim ’12, noted that Hear Indiana’s Youth Leadership Camp at Bradford Woods was an exciting and empowering experience for the children with hearing loss. Our goal was to challenge the children’s leadership abilities, encourage them to be assertive, and provide them a “structured atmosphere of fun with a purpose.”
“I saw a lot of leadership potential in these children while they performed their activities. I hope they realized that, in the mainstream, they don’t have to be a follower because they have hearing loss. Instead, they were able to experience what it was like to have a passion to make a difference and lead a group towards their goals. Now, these children have an opportunity to apply what they’ve learned at camp to improve their lives in the mainstream.”
Our goal next year is to continue to prove once more the timeless examples that the Wabash brotherhood will forever think critically, act responsibly, lead effectively, and live humanely. Wabash Always Fights!