Thursday, May 16, 2013

Are You Ready for Overnights?

The NDSC newsletter this month has a great article about whether this is the year to try out an overnight program for your special needs child (link below). Keep reading to see what Sandy Keefe, our Associate Director and Health Care Manager, had to say about the first time that she sent her daughter to an overnight program:

"Twelve summers ago, I drove to Via West Campus (then Camp Costanoan) to drop off my daughter Allie, who has Down syndrome. She was 9 years old at the time, and so excited about the swimming, horseback riding, arts and crafts, dances and talent shows she could share with her friends with developmental and physical disabilities.

Today, Allie and I live at Via West--I work as the associate director and health care manager, and Allie is a junior program staff member. We continue to enjoy typical outdoor recreational activities with friends, but she is even more thrilled with the value-added programs provided at the campus now. She loves the culinary arts and nutrition sessions, has gained valuable information from our iPad and fitness sessions, continues to improve her social skills and leadership, and thrives on the life skills, community integration and vocational lessons.

Despite serious cardiac issues, a seizure disorder and significant gastrointestinal problems, Allie is able to enjoy all of the programs on campus, plus field trips to exciting destinations such as Santa Cruz Boardwalk and San Francisco Zoo, because of the strong nursing care provided by Via West Campus.

Like any other special needs parent, I struggled with the decision to send my daughter off "on her own" for a summer program. If you are looking for a summer program for your child (5-22 years old) or adult (18 years on up) with Down syndrome, please consider the recommendations shared by the National Down Syndrome Congress to guide your decision. And please feel free to contact me directly ( or 408-867-1115, ext. 106) to talk about how your son or daughter would fit into our program."

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Cinco de Mayo Recap

Hola amigos! Via West celebrated Cinco de Mayo last weekend to close out the 2012-2013 weekend program season. We kicked off the fiesta with some Mexican flag and jeweled paper banner crafts and a movie to teach us about the history and the different traditions of the Cinco de Mayo holiday.

We played some rodeo games, rode horses, made Mexican hat magnets, learned how to make tamales, and we threw a wild and loco Mexican carnival!

After a grand taco bar dinner and getting pampered with manicures and makeup, we danced the night away at the Mexican Fiesta Dance.

We also made colorful tissue flowers, learned with iPads, and enjoyed the talent show.

To see more pictures from the weekend, please visit our Facebook page.