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March 2018 Bowling Green Daily News

Kids at camp

Building on it a word at a time, campers at the Centre for Courageous Kids collaborated with a collective of Nashville-based songwriters to create a song of their own. The session was part of Hear the Music Kids Camp, a weekend retreat for children with hearing loss. Hear the Music is a children’s program organised by Songs for Sound, a Nashville-based charity organisation that provides free hearing screenings and holds events and offers services aimed at people with hearing loss or deafness. This was the second year the program was held at The Centre for Courageous Kids, an Allen County organisation that hosts free weekend and weeklong camps for children with chronic medical conditions.

“Music moves the heart, lifts the spirit and gives us a way to express all sorts of emotions,” said Joanie O’Bryan, president and CEO of the Centre for Courageous Kids. Hear the Music is also sponsored by Phonak, a maker of hearing aids and other solutions for hearing loss. The camp hosted 32 families this weekend, enjoying activities that also included horseback riding, swimming and bowling to go along with songwriting.

Sam Brown, 10, first experienced profound hearing loss in one ear as a 21-month-old and lost hearing in his other ear three years ago, and he now uses a hearing aid for the left ear and a cochlear implant for his right ear. “When you first get the diagnosis, there’s a lot of half-empty and a mourning that happens,” said Sam’s mother, Angie Brown, of Edgewood. “But then you wipe the dust off your knees and lean on the support of a lot of people.” This weekend’s camp has been a boon for Sam, who said he enjoyed archery and looked forward to seeing the horses and other animals kept on the campgrounds. He also hoped to return for a summer camp. “As much as we want to try to ensure he can thrive, the reality is there’s a comfort to being in an environment with others who are in the same situation,” Angie Brown said. “This has been a fantastic experience ... you feel the love in this place as soon as you come here.”

Paul Shanley of Songs for Sound said the Hear the Music camp offers a welcoming and creative environment for children who might otherwise struggle for acceptance because of their hearing loss. Kaylin Yost, a professional golfer who has worn hearing aids since she was 2 years old, was at the camp to share her story with campers and inspire them not to see their hearing loss as a handicap. “My parents always told me that my hearing aids weren’t a disability, they’re a gift,” said Yost, who won the gold medal in women’s golf in last year’s Deaflympics held in Turkey.

O’Bryan said that, in addition to the Hear the Music program, the Centre for Courageous Kids offers a music therapy program for other campers who come to the centre during the year. “We want to make a lasting impact and give the kids something that they can take with them after they leave,” O’Bryan said. “These kids have a chance to build relationships that are lasting.”

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