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1991 summer program award winners.

Summer camp programs provide unique social, recreational and learning experiences. Our winners offer fine programs which include opportunities for interaction with peers without disabilities, parental participation and community involvement.



This ARC summer program, sponsored by the Association for Retarded Citizens of Davidson County and supported by the Junior League of Nashville, integrates children with all types of disabilities into various day camps and day-care centers in the Nashville, Tenn. area.

The ARC'S 1991 program began a year ago when a parent of a child with a disability asked the association to help send her son to a camp with "normal" children. The ARC decided to develop an integrated camping program rather than maintain the traditional segregated camp that had been offered for 13 years.

The ARC has helped 35 children with disabilities, ages four to 18, participate in 13 day camp or day-care sites. The sites range from YMCA programs for hundreds of children and staff ratios of 1 to 20 to smaller programs at private schools that work with groups of 30 children and staff ratios of 1 to 8. The only criteria for placement is age; children are matched with their age-appropriate peers.

To ensure that integration into the programs creates minimal disruption and maximum benefit, an ARC staffer accompanies the children with disabilities.

After the children are enrolled in a specific program, staff are hired according to the number of children and the need of each child with a disability. Staff members are trained before the program begins, outlining responsibilities, suggesting how to integrate the children and discussing possible difficulties.

Daily supervision is provided by the individual sites. The ARC supervises the children with disabilities, monitoring each site at least once every two weeks.

Contact: Richard Smith, M. S., Family Services Specialist, Association of Retarded Citizens of Davidson County, 2416 21st Avenue S, Nashville, Tenn. 37212-3724, (615) 297-8525.




Visually Impaired Preschool Services, Inc. (VIPS) is the only agency in Kentucky specifically dedicated to providing early intervention services to children who are blind, visually impaired and have multiple disabilities. The program serves birth through kindergarten-age children and their families.

Over the past three years, VIPS has sponsored an Annual Family Retreat Weekend in June for families served by the VIPS program. It is an opportunity for the whole family to "get away from it all." The families of VIPS staff, who include two parents of VIPS graduates, also attend. The program serves a multitude of special family needs including: parent needs for information, support and respite; the need of VIPS children for multi-sensory, hands-on and typical childhood experiences; and the need of their siblings to know that there are other families like their own.

The Family Retreat is held at Otter Creek Park overlooking the Ohio River. Parents stay at the park lodge, attending an upbeat and informative conference on Saturday featuring guest speakers who are veteran" parents, experts from the community and adults with vision impairments as role models. Saturday night is a time for partying, sharing and an entire night without the children for parents.

VI PS children and siblings under the age of four spend the weekend in a spacious cabin near the lodge with respite workers who plan a variety of activities for the little ones, including outdoor games, water play, arts and crafts and nature walks. Older Vi PS children and their siblings attend YMCA Camp Piomingo, also located within Otter Creek Park. Campers have a full schedule, including nature activities, hiking, caving, swimming and campfire fun. Camp Piomingo staffers are assisted by VIPS volunteers recruited from local service agencies.

The YMCA camp is not especially for people with disabilities, but the directors and staff make a special exception for VIPS children, welcoming them warmly and with excitement.

Contact: Pauletta Feldman, Family Services Coordinator Visually Impaired Preschool Services, Inc. (VIPS), 1215 S. Third St, Louisville, Ky. 40203, (502) 636-3207



The Dodge City AMBUCS First Annual cerebral Palsy Camp for children with a variety of disabilities was organized by a civic group called the American Business Clubs (AMBUCS). The program is held at the wheelchair-accessible Riverview Camp in Fort Dodge, Kan. Children from five-to-years 12 old spend a weekend horseback riding, swimming, going on a hayride, camping out and trying many other activities.

Contact: Gary Brown, 211 Beech, Dodge City, Kan. 67801, (316) 225-0624.




For nearly 20 years, the Oak Ridge Summer playground has been a summer-long day program for children with retardation. It is co-sponsored by the Association of Retarded Citizens of Anderson County and the Oak Ridge Recreation Department.

City schools donate space in one of the elementary schools as a home base for the playground, which serves about 18 children and young adults ages six to 22. A van picks up participants early in the morning and takes them home, usually by mid-afternoon. Campers have access to a swimming pool and travel to state parks for picnicking and outdoor games, as well as to the nearby Smoky Mountains and the Knoxville Zoo. The Tennessee Valley Authority's summer recreation program is a favorite of the campers, who swim and canoe on a TVA lake.

Contact Billy Fain, Executive Secretary, ARC/Anderson County, 401 Sulphur Springs Road, Clinton, Tenn. 37716, (615) 457-8080.



Camp Easter Seal is located near Milford, Neb. on the banks of the Big Blue River. The 90-acre camp of woodlands and prairie was the backdrop for a unique event - the Camp Jamboree, an acoustic music festival to benefit the camp and Nebraskans with disabilities. Coordinated by the Easter Seal Society of Nebraska, the jamboree featured a weekend of music at the fully-accessible camp.

Several of the musicians have disabilities themselves, inspiring campers with disabilities to want to learn an instrument. Activities included "jamming" at 15 covered areas, a gospel sing, a nature walk, biking, swimming and boating. A catfish fishing contest is planned for this year's jamboree, slated for August 28-30.

Contact: Dick Zion, 3105 North 90th St., Omaha, Neb. 68134, (402) 571-2162.
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Title Annotation:Association of Retarded Citizens summer programs for retarded children
Publication:The Exceptional Parent
Date:Jan 1, 1992
Previous Article:Carrying the torch.
Next Article:Everyone is special.

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