Sunday, January 30, 2011

The Benefits of Attending Crop Because You Care: Camp Spike and Wave

So, for those of you who aren't aware, I am very invested in volunteer work. I love volunteering. I frequently volunteer at the local community center of the Deaf, but I have another form of work in mind at the moment. Crop Because You Care (CBYC) is coming up at the end of February and if you don't know about it, this is your opportunity to learn more. Check out the links below and then I will tell you a bit more about Camp Spike and Wave.

The Official Crop Because You Care site, where you can learn more about CBYC, and the Epilepsy Association of Utah (EAU), as well as register for the event. (It's only $25! for a full day of scrapbooking for a good cause!)

The Epilepsy Association of Utah's blog, where information about CBYC can be seen as well as more information about the EAU, epilepsy, and seizures.
The Crop Because You Care blog, where the entirety of the blog is dedicated to the sole purpose of giving information about CBYC. (Psst! By the way, did you know, Stacy Julian is going to be attending this year's Crop Because You Care?! Click on one of the above blog links to learn more about her!)

If you are a Facebook jukie, like I am, you'll find various pages there about the EAU and CBYC, as well as people who are interested in the EAU and CBYC. It's pretty easy to find. You can also look over in the side bar as see the Facebook page badge.

If you are into tweeting, then feel free to follow either (or both) of the following twitter accounts. First there is the EAU Twitter account. Then there is the CBYC Twitter account as well. This is great if you get mobile updates via twitter. You'll know information about the upcoming crop while you are on the go!

Personal statement on YouTube about epilepsy, the EAU, and CBYC from one the founders - Karen! She has several videos on there about CBYC and epilepsy. Start with this one and then, if you wish, search for a bit more from there.

Ok, so now you've had the chance to become clued into what the awesome scrapbooking event, Crop Because You Care, is. If you haven't diverted your attention from my blog thus far, that's ok too. So, you may be wondering what the "scrap" this is all about - and what exactly you are cropping and caring for when you attend CBYC. Well, all proceeds of CBYC benefit the Epilepsy Association of Utah (EAU). From there, a large amount of those proceeds go to funding a summer camp for pre-teens & teens who are affected by epilepsy, a seizure disorder. Here is a little blurb about the camps offered from the National Ability Center, where the kids go for Camp Spike and Wave.
Each summer the National Ability Center offers camps packed with fun, adventure and activities that will challenge campers to discover their abilities, while making friendships to last a lifetime. These activities encourage campers to make friends, build social skills, strengthen physical agility and develop recreational skills while having more fun than they've ever had before.

About eleven months ago, I attended Crop Because You Care. A little over six months after that, I had the opportunity to attend Camp Spike and Wave as a volunteer.

I was able to assist in so many awesome things that the kids did at camp. Let me direct you to a few pictures so you can see the different types of things we did.

So, as you can see, we did so many exciting things - especially things that people with epilepsy cannot do in a "normal" situation. The kids rode horses. They braved the high ropes course, which includes elements such as the catwalk, bosman swings, tango bridge, cargo net and many more! They went on hikes (which some of them cannot do in a "normal" situation because temperature, whether it be hot or cold, are triggers for their seizures). They climbed rock-walls. They had fun with archery. And of course, we did all of the traditional camp things, such as crafts, games, becoming better friends, and eating s'mores. It seriously cannot get much better than that (not to mention that we were in a really nice cabin!)

Camp Spike and Wave Campers, 2010

I had a great time at Camp Spike and Wave, I think what I liked more than anything was the opportunity to have fun with kids (and other adults) who are affected by epilepsy. A sense of camaraderie was there, knowing that these people have dealt with a lot of the same problems I have. (Yes, I have generalize epilepsy) The same stigma we experience, the same types of exhaustion we feel at times, the side effects that come with medication and the knowledge that while we were together we were totally free to be ourselves and not be worried about what others would think if someone had a seizure.

So, you can see why this is something that is very near and dear to my heart. I hope that I've given you the chance to understand why CBYC is such an important event to attend. And not to mention, FUN!

Thanks everyone,


Sunday, January 16, 2011

My Thought on the Societal Perspective of Abnormality Among Normality

My paper and media collages as originally submitted on January 10, 2010,
with an all inclusive collage at the conclusion.

There are so many different ways that I could have approached the topics of what it is to be “normal,” and what it is to be “disabled.” I decided to reflect upon society since it is society who responds to media in regards of normality and disability. It is also society who influences community, and culture, which then leads to the environmental influences upon a person’s schema of various topics and ideas.
I chose to do my media collage before starting this thought paper. I believed it would expand the probably-small schema I had about normality and disability, and, in a way, it has. As I did various searches I began to understand the way society perceives both normalcy and disability. While Internet searches are not scholarly, I justified it because the majority of Americans have access to the Internet as well as access to sites where they can contribute their opinions and ideas.
While my searches gave me a different sort of understanding, I became frustrated with the top items that would come up in the search – especially when I used the search term, “disability.” It seems like the most common idea of disability seems to be someone who is wheelchair-bound. I was frustrated with this because, while my understanding of disability is not a full one, I know that there are other types of disabilities – whether they be mental or physical – and obviously there is a lack of media representation of those various disabilities.
I was even frustrated with my search results for, “normal.” I had to add words for more specificity since it was too broad of a term. So when I added, “man,” or “woman,” to the search, I found that the majority of top hits were semi-famous people who were described as being “just a normal man,” or “just a normal woman,” for whatever purpose it served. These results for “normal” people were frustrating because it showed photos of people that are digitally retouched and photoshopped – they are probably as far away from the societal norm as someone who is labeled as being disabled.
What does “normal” mean? “Normal” is defined as a way of “conforming to a standard,” or in the way of describing a person, it is someone who is, “free from physical or mental disorders.” (Oxford American Dictionaries) When someone says they are normal, when someone says their child is normal, I believe it is a label – a way to safeguard themselves, and their offspring against societal criticism and disparagement. While socially safeguarding themselves, I believe it also allows the “normal” speakers the opportunity to believe it for themselves, as illogical as it may be.
Definitions aside, I must recognize that as “politically correct” as terms can be, there is nothing “politically correct” about the way people with recognizable disabilities are treated by others. From my experience with the word, “disability,” doesn’t seem to be a word that a person would voluntarily use when describing him self. I think it’s more of a word used as a label by others, usually it is the “politically correct,” way to describe a person who has “a physical or mental condition that limits a person's movements, senses, or activities.” (Oxford American Dictionaries) I suppose that when a person does use the term, especially when parents use it when describing their child, that it is a form of acceptance of oneself, for one’s child, and it is a way to acknowledge a person’s problems while marking one’s individuality.

So, what do you think???

Read more about my thoughts Disability


Just a brief moment in the musings of my mind.

I was browsing through TV this morning, and happened upon "Home Delivery." The show is about these "life-changing" events that the show generously provides as their form of entertainment. This particular episode was about this woman who had immigrated to New York City from Russia. She was employed as a cab driver in NYC and had an American boyfriend. Now, I don't know who initiated her "Home Delivery," but I was upset with her makeover.

Her "before" picture was completely fine, she is a cutie, modest style and humble appearance. There is nothing wrong with that. Her "after" appearance seemed to be more focused on looking sexy and seductive. All of the men hooted and clapped their approval upon seeing her, which, in my opinion, is objectifying her.

The words" gorgeous," and "beautiful" were common upon response to her appearance. Which is awesome, don't get me wrong. But, what is this telling this young woman from Russia? Did it tell her that she is only beautiful when she is made up to look all sensual and sexy? Did it tell her that beauty only comes from the outside - from the way she looks?

What happened to uniqueness? Individuality? Originality? Personality? Inner beauty? Self esteem? Why is it that we must turn to America's media to be told how to assimilate into what is acceptable and considered beautiful?

I find it frustrating to know women are so oppressed and pressured by the media, consistently and subtly being forced to assimilate to what is considered "beautiful."

I think it's OK to do things for yourself to help you feel good about yourself, but if you don't have a knowledge of your own inner beauty and self esteem, then what good is fashion, makeup and fancy hair?

I don't know, I just feel really frustrated with this concept of bettering people's lives by making them look better...

What do you think?