Despite the North Texas 2022 heat soaring over 100, summer camps were back in full swing. From gals camping at Waldemar and co-eds sailing sunfish to sabots at Camp Longhorn’s Inks Lake, kids were making memories.
But over at Cross Creek Ranch for a week (Monday, August 1 thru Thursday, August 4), a special come-together was underway for a unique group of youngsters. These campers were brandishing high-tech headgear — cochlear implants. Thanks to the Foundation for the Callier Center and Communication Disorders, dozens of hearing-impaired munchkins were able to fine-tune their listening and speech-language therapy in a playful environment with counselors who were also UT Dallas audiologists and speech-language pathologists at the 25th UTD Callier’s Cochlear Implant Summer Listening Camp.
With plenty of shade and endless bottles of water, the summer’s heat didn’t seem to bother the youngsters as they took over the grounds with activities indoors and out with loads of supplies, games, a bounce house and visits with Paws Across Texas pooches. After all, it had been a couple of years since the pandemic had forced the cancellation of the camp.
One camper, Joseph, was well on his way to making camp memories sound like any other kid’s. On one day he and his partner/counselor Erin not only hooked and reeled in the first turtle of the day from the ranch’s pond, he also scored a literal hit when his bag-tossing partner Luciano‘s throw connected with Joseph’s forehead. Were there tears or running to Erin? Nope. Joseph just laughed and responded with a long toss back. It was so impressive that Joseph was upgraded to having counselor Todd McPherson as his new tossing partner.
Todd was all too aware of the role that the implants and the camp played in the lives of young people with hearing challenges. For under his thatch of red hair, he wore his own cochlear implant.
Across the field as kids like Beau and Harrison were playing with the don’t-get-trapped parachute game, Todd’s mother Anne McPherson and other Callier Foundation board members like Foundation President Beth Thoele, Bennett Cullum, Callier Senior Development Director Justin Banta and Callier Center Executive Director Dr. Angela Shoup gathered to check out the activities.
It was because of Anne’s having firsthand knowledge of Callier Center for Communication Disorders‘ successful research and advancements in communications that she was spearheading the Callier Family Care Campaign.