Speech Improvement Camp
A camp-clinic for the correction of speech disorders in boys and young men was conceived as an ideal to achieve three purposes: (1) To remove the boy from influences contributing to the factors of cause; (2) to provide a well-regulated program integrating intensive speech correction methods, personal counseling, and physical education; (3) to promote a carry-over of new speech habits used successfully in the classroom situation to the boy's life outside of class.
It was not intended that an out-of-door camping program of itself would necessarily contribute to speech improvement. Yet those intangibles of camping that teach normal young people to live with others, to acquire self-confidence, and to accept responsibility are obviously potential advantages to a boy overcoming a speech defect.
The camp has been restricted to boys and young men for two valid reasons. In the first place, since the camp serves a wide age group, eight through twenty-four, the daily program is easier to organize and conduct than it would be in a coeducational camp, and in the second place, some 70 per cent or more of speech problems occur in boys.
The camp was established as a private venture by John N. Clancy (Notre Dame '21, A.M. Michigan '37) and Mrs. Clancy in 1932. They are presently camp director and camp mother. The first enrollment numbered four campers, all from Michigan. The annual attendance in recent years has numbered approximately ninety-six campers from more than twenty states. About half of the campers are stutterers. Boys with other speech handicaps include those with Page 1602mild cerebral palsy, the hard-of-hearing, and others with postoperative cleft palate, voice, articulation, and language problems.
Throughout seventeen years of private ownership the camp was affiliated with the University and worked in close cooperation with the University's Speech Clinic and with the Department of Speech. In 1949 the camp was purchased by the University through a generous gift by the Kresge Foundation. In February of that year the following resolution was adopted by the Regents:
Resolved, That the executive officers be authorized to proceed with the purchase of Shady Trails Camp, … and that the Secretary be directed to express to the Kresge Foundation the sincere appreciation of the Board of Regents for a gift of $66,000 which is to be applied toward the purchase of the speech correction camp.
(R.P., 1948-51, p. 279.)
The Regents officially designated the camp "University of Michigan Speech Improvement Camp" although the popular name of "Shady Trails Camp" was continued. An appropriate plaque recognizing the generosity of the Kresge Foundation was installed in the main lodge.
Since the camp was acquired it has operated as a unit of the Summer Session. The camp management is responsible to an Executive Committee appointed by the Regents.
The camp, some 275 miles from Ann Arbor, is on Grand Traverse Bay about twenty-five miles northwest of Traverse City, on M-22 between the villages of Omena and Northport. It is a premise of the camp to remove a boy from the environment in which he has met with failure, and distance from home discourages frequent visits. As camps go, the site is comparatively small, slightly more than twenty-six acres with 1,325 feet on the bay. The camp program does not include many of those features of a recreational camp that require space, such as horseback riding, and thus far its site has been ample. The enrollment is divided into six age groups. Each group of sixteen campers is housed in a modern cottage with five sleeping rooms, living room with natural fireplace, and doublebathroom facilities. Each of the groups has the undivided attention throughout the eight-week session of three speech correctionists and a physical director (two physical directors for each of the two youngest groups).
The camp is modern and well equipped. It has a supervised water front for beginners and advanced swimmers. There is also a supervised athletic plant with junior and senior softball diamonds, basketball, volleyball, badminton, and tennis courts. The buildings, in addition to the six cottages for campers, include the lodge, containing the dining room, kitchen, and offices, a cottage for the women on the staff, the director's cottage, a cottage for visiting staff, the laboratory, an infirmary, the cook's cottage, the activities building, and a combination pump and storehouse. All buildings are comparatively new, having been erected since 1947. The University's investment in the physical plant is approximately $110,000.
The camp has contributed a rich experience in training speech correctionists through a course, Internship in Speech Correction, offered to a group of twelve graduate students each summer by the Department of Speech. Like other internships, this is a work-study program with emphasis on working with the camper. The camp draws its replacement of major staff in speech correction from its interns. The chief interest, however, is the rehabilitation of speech handicapped boys and not teacher training. In 1953 ninety-seven campers (one more than the camp's normal capacity Page 1603were in attendance. The gross income of the camp was the largest in the camp's history.
In its various departments the staff rarely has a member younger than twenty-one years of age and, other than the administrative members, rarely one more than thirty. The staff has developed the philosophy and the camp spirit which have led to a successful program and desired results. Many staff members of past seasons have distinguished themselves in their professions.
There are well-rounded programs of clinical and camp activities in groups small enough to allow adequate individual instruction and large enough to give experience in the group situation. Classes and programs are planned to provide for personal growth of the individual and for use of newly learned speech patterns in practical everyday living.
The resident staff approximates forty members, including twenty speech correctionists, ten counselors, a registered nurse, a camp mother, three secretaries, the director, and two assistant directors. This staff is assisted by a visiting staff of consultants (physicians, psychologists, speech pathologists) from the University of Michigan and from other major universities and colleges. The "service" staff (cooks and helpers) numbers ten members.
In 1954-55 the University Executive Committee for the camp included Dr. James H. Maxwell, Professor of Otolaryngology, Professor G. E. Densmore, chairman of the Department of Speech, Fedele F. Fauri, Dean of the School of Social Work, James R. Hayward, Associate Professor of Dentistry and Head of Oral Surgery of the University Hospital, and John N. Clancy, Assistant Director of the Speech Clinic and Director of the Camp.