The Longest Summer Draws to an End
by Samuel Sennott
So goes the longest summer. Nearly fifteen months of summer has come to an end. It has been a fun and interesting ride starting on the shores of Plum Island, MA and leading a public school Extended Year Program Summer Camp to a bit further down route 1 in sunny Southern Florida and the Writer’s camp for users of AAC this summer. My year in Fort Lauderdale ends today. Wow did I learn a great deal. So much has happened from working with two, three, and four year olds to the powerful experience consulting at a middle school yesterday. Broward and Miami Dade counties are in my heart and on my mind. The children and families I worked with here have been inspirational. The community we have created is so terrific. The families in the early childhood program I led here had me over for a nice cookout on my last day this past week and it really was special. This saying goodbye for now is bittersweet. I will miss my students and the work here. Last Friday, on my last day, we took the children to a really nice accessible playground and as we wound through the park, Led Zeppelin’s classic song Ramble On was playing on the radio. It is time for me to go, but I will forever be connected in mind and heart to the children and communities here. As I set out for Vermont for a Sabatical of sorts, before starting a Ph.D. program in Special Education and AAC, I wonder when I will return here. Truly ATIA will now become a reunion of sorts for me. As I say goodbyes, I think about how much this time has been a gift. Having the ability to stay on my hands and knees working with the students, as well as stepping one foot into the academic world has been such a gift. My time working in the Speech and Language division at Nova Southeastern University has been amazing. Helping graduate students, leading the early childhood program, doing AT services, teaching workshops, traveling to CTG, ATIA, ASHA, FLASHA, and ISAAC, leading our very special camp time this summer, and being able to mentor some team members all has been such a gift. Much thanks to all who made it possible. Thanks to the terrific children and individuals served. Much thanks to the families who have been so gracious. Thanks to the team members who have been such a gift. So much thanks and respect to Dr. Zangari and Dean Dr. Newman for hiring me and giving me so much freedom to create. Special thanks to Beth Saunders who has been a constant source of help and support. She does a terrific job leading a great team of AT specialists in Broward. The respect they gave by giving so much time meeting with me on translating our camp gains on into the students current school year is such an inspiration. So much thanks to my friends down here. Gosh, you have been awesome. Thanks for all the fun times on Las Olas, South Beach, and beyond. Thanks to God for the grace this longest summer. It surely has been a great chapter in my life and while the relationships live on, this time is ending. Goodbye Florida. Goodbye summer.