Friday, August 27, 2010

The Acorn People

The Acorn People Review

Camp Wiggins was not a place for medically sanitized facilities, safety rails, or strict activity schedules. It was a place for memories to be made, accomplishments, and fantasies to be fulfilled. By no means were the handicaps of the teens attending this camp would burden this in any way. The Acorn People, by Ron Jones, tells a story of how a camp of handicap teens grow together and accomplish more than they could ever dream of doing at a camp made for boy scouts. In this true story, Ron Jones, the camp counselor of a group that goes above and beyond the expectations of camp, ables these teens to work together to climb Mountain Lookout, swim for the first time, and then struggle with getting the approval of the camp owner Mr. Bradshaw. Over all, this story was emotionally filled as well as giving you a new look on people not as fortunate as those not handicapped.

The kids in Ron Jones group whom he counseled each were very unique. They all had their different disability as well as something that they were good at. Martin was blind. He was one of the most mobile in the group. He always seemed to have a smile on his face, as well as all the other blind kids at the camp. He always was in motion. Then there was Benny B. Polio had taken both of his legs. He was a speed freak. He could do wheelies and many other things in his wheel chair. Spider was another kid in Ron's cabin. He had no legs or arms. Spider was always alert and loved to talk. He was a so-called "jukebox". Then there was Thomas Stewart. He had muscular sclerosis and weighed about 35 pounds in all. He never talked and you never could tell what he was really thinking. Aaron or "Arid" had no way of the waste in his body to be exerted out of his body. His smell was horrible causing him to not have too many friends, and getting the nickname "Arid". Throughout this story, you saw how each character developed from handicapped boys into outgoing, dream filled young men. This occurs when Thomas actually talks to them for the first time, when Spider shows them all how he's such a great swimmer despite having no limbs, and when Aaron gets crowned King at the dance.

The Acorn People gets its title from a conversation that Benny B. and Ron had. Ron was making a necklace made of nuts because he was feeling extremely stressed out. Ron did not have the job as a counselor because he wanted to work with handicap teens, but he had the job because he needed one. He was not prepared at all to have to change sheets every night from the bed wettings that occurred, or to feed many of them individually. He decided to make this necklace of acorns to express how "nuts" he felt being there. While he was doing this, Benny B. walks over asking him what the necklace was for. At first Ron didn't answer him but then, after constantly being asked by Benny he told him how he felt a little nuts being here and so he thought the necklace to be appropriate. Benny B. responded with saying, "So do we counselor, we all feel a little nutty here! You might want to call us the nut people, yeah, that's a good name for us." After this, Ron's whole group made these necklaces and then eventually made them for the whole camp. The name "The Acorn People" got around the camp quickly.

The kids in this story experienced many new things that they had never been exposed to before. Ron and Dominic (the other counselor) heard an old announcement that was for the boy scouts that said something about climbing Lookout Mountain. Benny B. heard it as well and said to Ron if the boy scouts could climb it then why couldn't they? So eventually the group ends up taking a hike up to the mountain and then stops, looking up at it pondering how they will get up it. Martin steps out and starts up Mountain Lookout, experimenting ways they could possibly get up it. He finally finds a way that would be possible. They would have to scoot up the mountain on their bottoms and Thomas would sit on Ron's lap and Spider on Dominic's. This scene in the book just puts forth a new perspective to the kids in that group. It shows how much, despite their disadvantages, they want to accomplish things that regular kids are able to do.

Throughout this book it shows different instances which state that they aren't different but they are just like those not handicapped. When they had the dance and the boys and girls were dancing together showing emotion for each other it showed this. Who says handicapped people can't have crushes on the opposite sex? I would suggest this book to those that have had experience with those handicapped. They would most likely get the most appreciation out of this book. This book brings forth so much emotion and a new perspective on those handicapped. I have much appreciation for this book and the view it is written from.

-H. Cooper

The Acorn People Overview

The author's experiences as a camp counselor for severely handicapped children.

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