Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Kicking Butt in Boy Scouts

"Mom, I hit the man in the BUTT!" This was Casey's triumphant response when I asked him how Boy Scouts was tonight and how he did at dodgeball...not bad for a child who used to to just smile and hug the wall. He was so proud of himself; he hit one of his scout leaders in the butt and got him out lol!

Casey celebrates his victory!! 
I know that most people reading this probably think, "Wow, big deal! I can do that in my sleep!" Well, for a special needs child like Casey, it IS a big deal to him and to us. This is a child who didn't usually like or participate in any kind of sport or very much socialization. Boy Scouts is a HUGE deal to him and it's helping him enjoy himself and feel like he's just like all the other boys out there that don't have to deal with a hearing impairment or autistic hurdles.

If you haven't been following Casey's journey, click here to view the previous posts and catch up. :) We really need all the support we can get and we are not yet close to our ultimate goal, or even our minimum goal. :( Right now, we're STILL at just $200.00 in popcorn sales; which is obviously short of the $600 minimum and the $1600 goal for FREE residence camp. Scouting isn't cheap, so we really need to sell a lot of popcorn so Casey can keep being in Scouts and we don't have to worry about how to pay for all the odds and ends that go with it. So, basically, we need to sell popcorn to about 70 more people. I have TONS of family and friends on Facebook; not to mention whomever may be reading this on the world wide web (so I don't understand why we haven't hit goal already lol. C'mon, folks!).

If you are in any way inspired and touched by my sweet boy who is enjoying the Boy Scouts, anbuy some popcorn from Casey's Dino Raptor Snack Shack (or select the option to gift it to our military if you aren't a popcorn eater). Once again, I know that it's probably one of those things where you look at the goods and the prices and maybe think twice about buying. However, think of what you are investing in. Casey and these kids are the boys that are (and will be) serving their communities in the future. They are the young men that are learning survival skills and character; the kind of good boys that you want dating your daughters or saving your life if an accident happened. When you buy that popcorn, don't think of it as a pricey snack that you're buying. Think of it as a donation to one of this nation's great institutions and the popcorn as a "thank you" gift for doing so. We're buying some too, people lol. I could buy popcorn at any grocery store, but this popcorn is the only popcorn that puts a smile on my son's face, a Scout shirt on his back, and gets him to residence camp where he'll no doubt have a life-changing experience learning new things! I'm happy to be a part of that! Please, join us!
d not letting his own hurdles get him down, then please

Grace and peace to you, my friends! Thank you so much for your support! Please, share this blog and these posts with your friends and on Facebook, Twitter, via my Pinterest posts, etc.! We sure would appreciate it! #caseysdinoraptorsnackshack !! God bless you!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Casey is Hooked on Scouting!

Casey's homemade fishing lures!
"Mom, look what I made!" That's the phrase that every Mom loves to hear no matter how old her child gets! When they're young, it's coloring pages and homemade creations. Now, it's duct tape wallets and fishing lures that they are making in Boy Scouts. I'm so proud of him!

He also told me about how they played dodgeball again. This time, he described to me in great detail about how he "threw a ball at his opponent" lol. He also used the word "rival" (I love his word choices lol). He told me he actually hit someone and got him out! "Did anyone get YOU out?" I asked. He smiled and said, "NOPE!" He also explained to me the rules of the game and I was thrilled to see that he not only understood how it worked now, but he was getting a lot better at it!

He's also made at least one friend as a result of the Boy Scouts. I remember on the first day of school my daughter had come home saying she made five new friends. Casey said that he had tried, but that no one wanted to be his friend. It made me sad, because I know he tries, but he doesn't always socialize in a way where people can connect with him. Now, I ask him if he has any friends and he says, "Yes, Kai is my friend. He's in Boy Scouts with me." You have no idea how HUGE this is! At the dinner last week, we sat with Kai and his Mom. He and Casey seem to really get along well and I'm so glad that Casey has been able to connect with someone! It makes me so happy that I get teared up!

I continue to be amazed at just how much it means to Casey to be in the Boy Scouts. It's helping him mature and he's enjoying socialization and participation like never before! He reminds me constantly, "Mom, Tuesday is Boy Scouts!" He even writes it in his assignment book with a big exclamation point on every Tuesday entry. That's why it's so important that we continue to get his popcorn sold. Right now, we're at around $200.00 in popcorn sales; which is still short of the $600 minimum and the $1600 goal for FREE residence camp. Scouting isn't cheap, so we really need to sell a lot of popcorn so Casey can keep being in Scouts and we don't have to worry about how to pay for all the odds and ends that go with it. So, basically, we need to sell popcorn to about 70 more people. I have TONS of family and friends on Facebook; not to mention whomever may be reading this on the world wide web (so I don't understand why we haven't hit goal already lol. C'mon, folks!).

If you are in any way inspired and touched by my sweet boy who is enjoying the Boy Scouts, and not letting his own hurdles get him down, then please buy some popcorn from Casey's Dino Raptor Snack Shack (or select the option to gift it to our military if you aren't a popcorn eater). I know that it's probably one of those things where you look at the goods and the prices and maybe think twice about buying. However, think of what you are investing in. Casey and these kids are the boys that are (and will be) serving their communities in the future. They are the young men that are learning survival skills and character; the kind of good boys that you want dating your daughters or saving your life if an accident happened. When you buy that popcorn, don't think of it as a pricey snack that you're buying. Think of it as a donation to one of this nation's great institutions and the popcorn as a "thank you" gift for doing so. We're buying some too, people lol. I could buy popcorn at any grocery store, but this popcorn is the only popcorn that puts a smile on my son's face, a Scout shirt on his back, and gets him to residence camp where he'll no doubt have a life-changing experience learning new things! I'm happy to be a part of that! Please, join us!

Grace and peace to you, my friends! Thank you so much for your support! Please, share this blog and these posts with your friends and on social media! We sure would appreciate it! #caseysdinoraptorsnackshack !! God bless you!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Fishing for Support

Yesterday, we had the privilege of having a tasty meal with the other Boy Scouts and their families. It was to eat and celebrate the boys who had earned badges and advancements in the last few months. We ate some of the most delicious fried chicken and fish we ever tasted (I don't know what the batter was, but it was FANTASTIC!). Everyone also carried in lots of side dishes and desserts; my dessert had no leftovers. ;) It was a wonderful time of fellowship!

Enjoying some tasty fish;
and dreaming about catching
and frying his own!
During that time, Casey asked one of his scout leaders the same question he asks every week, "Are we going to go outside?" He also asks about going fishing. I told him that the Boy Scouts do a lot of outdoor activities (fishing being one of them) so now, he's obsessed with the idea and won't stop talking about it lol. He was told that next week, they were going to make fishing lures. All he heard was "fishing" and he started getting super excited. I signed to him that they were going to be MAKING fishing stuff. He understood, but kept talking about how he needed a fishing pole.

Needless to say, Casey's growing excitement about all things Boy Scouts continues to build. I've never seen him so excited about something like this before! Any parent of a special needs child understands why this is such a big deal. Autism varies from person to person, but in most cases, those with autism don't enjoy a lot of social activity. Combine that with the fact that he's usually in a loud environment (the gym they play in at the church) and you have an ideal situation which would cause most autistic kids to freak out and have a meltdown. Not Casey! He's enjoyed every minute of it! We're amazed and grateful at how he's voluntarily breaking out of his box every day!

As he happily chowed down on his fish yesterday, I kept wondering about how he would do once Scouts got a little bit tougher. What would he do when he had to complete projects for badges and learn how to tie knots? It's challenging enough for the average person, so how would he be able to get through it? Then, I remembered just how committed he has been thus far; how eager and open he has been. I think he'll do just fine. I just hope that he can sell enough popcorn to get all he needs to not only afford a uniform, but to get to that big milestone of earning free Residence Camp. Chris asked if he would even be ready for that and suggested it might be too much for him. I told him that I believed Casey would want to go more than anything when the time comes and that it will be good for him. I'm just so proud of him and to see him maturing and breaking his own barriers!

Since my initial blog, I have had a couple more people buy popcorn from Casey's Dino Raptor Snack Shack. We are now almost to $150.00 in sales so far, but he is still so very short from the $600.00 goal (to get him the uniform and scouting stuff he needs) and the $1,600.00 DREAM of FREE Residence Camp. We have until about October 21st to make it to goal and we're hoping and praying that there are enough friends and family (and even perfect strangers that this blog might get passed along to or stumbled across) that will want to support the dream of a special child like Casey. If he inspires you, and you'd like to contribute to the memories that will help him grow in character and last a lifetime, please click here to purchase some popcorn; whether for yourself or as a gift to the military men and women of our armed forces. Also, share this blog via email and social media. Let's get #caseysdinoraptorsnackshack to trend on Facebook and Twitter! Wouldn't that be amazing?! :)

Grace and peace to you, my friends! Thank you so much for reading and for supporting Casey! It means the world to him, and to us! God bless you!

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Casey's Dino Raptor Snack Shack

"Mom, I want to be in Boy Scouts!" This is what I've heard from Casey on a couple different occasions when he's brought information papers home. Up until now, I had put it off for a variety of different reasons; time, money, and the fact that I didn't really believe Casey would ultimately want to commit to something that required more socialization and outdoor activity time (even though it would be good for him). Casey's mild autism has always caused him to have difficulty with socialization (or even wanting to; he usually likes to be alone). He is also very sensitive to temperatures; particularly heat, so he doesn't always enjoy outdoor activities when it's warm outside. Therefore, I was REALLY surprised that he brought up joining the Boy Scouts again. He had let it go the last time when I explained what it all entailed; as well as a "maybe next year" and "wait until we get married and get settled at your new school." This time, he was NOT letting me forget about my "next time" response. "Next time" was now THIS TIME.

When I took Casey to the introductory meeting, all I could think about was how much he hated other things I tried to involve him in. When he was younger, he played special league t-ball. When he wasn't sitting down in the outfield or playing in the sand, he was covering his eyes and running to first base after hitting the ball. In Upwards basketball, he was flailing around the court (and doing his "raptor walk"). He looked unhappy and like he wished it would all be over (see video playlist lol). So, you can imagine how hesitant I was to give into Casey's insistence that he REALLY wanted to do Boy Scouts (especially when I saw how much a uniform and all that stuff costs). However, the scout leaders said that the $12.00 membership fee covered him from now until January; in other words, a perfect time frame for a trial run! I told Casey that we would give things a go and if he didn't like it, we would opt out when it was time to renew. If he still wanted to stick with it, we would invest in a uniform at that time. I don't know if he truly comprehends the whole concept, but he agreed lol.

Casey learned how to
make a duct tape wallet!
So far, Casey has been enjoying everything they've been doing in weekly meetings. Chris and I have observed him playing dodgeball and we were amazed that he was enjoying it and attempting to participate. Granted, he doesn't know how to throw the ball very well (or very far) but he did try. More often than not, he was just the last boy standing after everyone else has been hit because he just stands by the wall laughing, grinning, and avoiding being clobbered lol. It may not seem like a lot to anyone else, but watching him enjoy it was a pretty big deal to us. It showed a lot of personal growth and maturity and it's so good for him to step out of his box!

He also went on a nature hike where they were identifying plants and bugs. This is right up Casey's alley! He LOVES that stuff! I hope that he will impress the leaders and other scouts with his amazing encyclopedia-type explanations of the different species of spiders, bugs, and such. He reads up on those things all the time! They've met their match with Casey in this area! Everyone else might be able to cream him in dodgeball, but he can memorize nature facts like nobody's business! :)

The other thing that Casey and his troop are starting to do is sell their Boy Scout popcorn. This is something that Casey only vaguely understands. He knows that he needs to sell it (and that earning a certain amount will earn him a prize of a rocket kit that he wants) but he doesn't understand HOW to sell it or WHY it costs what it does. When telling his Mamaw about buying popcorn, he said that he was calling his popcorn selling "Casey's Dino Raptor Snack Shack" and that his popcorn was five dollars. "But this says twenty dollars," Mamaw said. Casey looked surprised and confused. He told her, "Um, no. That's too much money. I say just five dollars." We all had a good laugh about that lol. He doesn't realize that fundraising has preset prices and that no matter what you're raising money for, it's always "too much money" - but the money goes to a good cause!

We are so proud of Casey for trying something new; especially something that involves learning good skills, building character, and being part of an honorable and respected organization. Casey has always been a hero in my eyes because no matter what challenges he's had to overcome due to his hearing impairment and autism, he's always come out on top and shown everyone that he's just as smart (if not smarter) and as capable of participating in things just like anyone else!

Grace and peace to you, my friends! Thank you for reading about Casey's story! I will be sure to keep you updated as the fundraising progresses and give you a grand total as well! $600 is what they hope each individual scout will raise and $1600 is the amount they said one needs for free Scout Residence Camp (I'm a newbie, so I don't know what this is, but I'm sure I'll find out lol!). Right now, he has done around $70 in sales (obviously, he has a long ways to go!). Please, feel free to pass this blog post along if he has inspired you as much as he inspires us! Email it, post it on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc. and use the hash tag #caseysdinoraptorsnackshack . We appreciate your support! If you would like to purchase something from "Casey's Dino Raptor Snack Shack", just click on this link lol. No, Casey's five dollar pricing isn't applicable lol. However, it will go to support his troop as well as get him on his way to earning that rocket kit and purchasing items scouting related. Even if you don't like popcorn, you can buy some and have it sent to our military troops and their families instead! Everybody wins! Thank you for helping to make the dreams of a special needs child come true! God bless you!