Dreams do come true.
Do you have a bucket list? What types of adventures or dreams are on it? Many of the people we support have Dream lists and what is on them might surprise you. Things that you might take for granted as everyday occurrences like camping, fishing, art classes, music lessons, attending a concert, are dreams for people living at Sunbeam. Realizing their dreams is often dependent on the generosity and kindness of community champions.
Over the past several months, Chris, who lives at Cornridge Group Home, repeatedly mentioned a few things that he really wanted to do. That was unusual for him as he is a man of few words so staff knew it must be important to him. The Group Home and Day Program team took on a task to make sure that Chris could realize at least one of his dreams.
Chris wanted to go fishing – “on a big boat and catch a real fish.” In August, with the support of generous donors, Chris realized that dream. Accompanied by a Day Program and a Community Living Staff, he headed down to Toronto the night before his big fishing trip. This provided Chris with an opportunity to take in some sights and even enjoy a burger down on the Waterfront. At 6 a.m. Chris arrived at the dock to meet Captain Greg Amiel of “Fishing for Tails” out of Toronto, Ontario, for a morning of fishing on Lake Ontario. Chris loved the boat ride, looking through binoculars, seeing the sunrise and most of all, he loved reeling in fish. Chris shared that on the way back to harbour the captain was going so fast over the waves that he felt like he was in a big bouncy castle.
Imagine his joy when he brought home not only one, but 12 fish, a mixture of Rainbow Trout and Salmon. Captain Greg cleaned and packaged the fish so Chris was able to share his catch with some friends in a very tangible way. He still has some in the freezer that he intends to enjoy with friends that he invites over for a barbecue.
Now, a true story of the one that got away. It seems that there was a fishing derby happening during this time and Chris’s boat was registered in the derby. Chris’s last fish of the day had the captain very excited. He helped reel it in and the captain thought it could be a 30 pounder, large enough to capture a prize. As Greg reached down to scoop it into the net the line broke and the fish swam away. There was disappointment in the boat but it did not diminish the fantastic day Chris had experienced…although wouldn’t it have been wonderful if Chris had an opportunity to win a fishing derby? A dream for another day perhaps?
A few weeks later Chris had an opportunity to realize another dream. Shawna, one of the support workers in the home where Chris lives, was going camping with her family. She knew that one of Chris’s dreams was to camp in a tent, sleep on an air mattress that he blew up with an air pump, and make smores over a real campfire. She invited Chris to join them and decided to make this trip all about him. He set the menu so enjoyed steak, hotdogs over an open fire, and a lot of smores. Although it rained the first night it did not dampen the excitement that he felt.
He shared that he wore goggles in the water and did more handstands than he could count. It seems that Chris was quite talkative with Shawna’s children. We took that to mean that he was having a great time. In fact, he is hopeful that he will have the opportunity to camp again next year.