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1992 Summer Program Award winners.


Easter Seal Camp Gilmanton Iron Works, New Hampshire

For the past three years, the Easter Seal Society of New Hampshire has provided an integrated residential camping program, in cooperation with the Daniel Webster Council Boy Scouts of N.H.

Over 1,000 integrated campers with and without disabilities share recreational experiences in a barrier-free outdoor environment. Local college students preparing for careers in recreation, physical and occupational therapy, psychology and other related fields act as counselors. They encourage camper interaction, promote understanding and cooperation and evaluate the campers' participation.

Campers and Boy Scouts work daily in small groups to earn badges in woodworking, fishing, cooking, archery and swimming. Additionally, Easter Seals campers can mainstream with Boy Scouts during free-time activities such as a pick-up game of basketball, a swimming free-for-all, a scavenger hunt or a fishing outing. The Easter Seal camp is coeducational and designed to provide both social and recreational experiences for children and young adults ages eight to 24.

A three-to-one camper-to-counselor ratio provides the necessary support campers may need to participate in activities. A camp director supervises counselors and manages the overall day-to-day operations of the camp. And, the Boy Scouts provide the programmatic staff for activities such as swimming, crafts, medical support, kitchen, etc.

Summer Adventure Series St. Louis, Missouri

Now in its third year, STREAM's (the St. Louis Regional Experiential Movement) Summer Adventure Series is an inclusive camp for children ages six to 12.

Campers attend a one-week session in county parks throughout St. Louis and participate in activities adapted to the age and abilities of each child. Campers are led by a mix of teachers and college students. There are two theme programs: On-the-Air KIDS Radio, which allows campers to spin records, report news and write and air commercials and skits; and Treasure Island, where campers "walk the plank," hunt for buried treasure and escape the ghost of Long John Silver. Interpreters are provided for those who need them.

Community support is strong. Both programs are supported by county tax revenue, but donations of various art supplies by local businesses make crafts possible. The Department of Recreation waives park fees. Parents are encouraged to attend on Fridays and are treated to puppet shows, stories and treasure hunts.

ARC Summer Internship Program Orange County, North Carolina

The Summer Internship Program of the Association for Retarded Citizens of Orange County, N.C., provides teens with developmental disabilities the opportunity to explore work and community living. The program places high-school students with moderate-to-severe mental retardation into community jobs for three-week rotations. Job sites from past summers included a hardware store, grocery store, physician's office and a newspaper.

Job coaches, hired and trained by the program director, learn the jobs, teach them to the interns and provide on-the-job supervision. The coaches then spend the afternoons with their interns, participating in community activities such as eating out, swimming, bowling and going to the mall.

The ARC/Orange County is looking to expand summer internships into yearlong community skills and vocational experiences for students with disabilities through the Transition Project. The Transition Project is funded by the ARC/Orange County and the Council on Developmental Disabilities.

"I know that lots of these kids will be able to work in the community," said one job coach. "So the burden of proof is now on the people who say they need a sheltered workshop."

Camp Pamunkey New Kent, Virginia

Cumberland Hospital for Children and Adolescents is in its third year of hosting a special family camp called Camp Pamunkey for families from various parts of the United States. Sponsored by the Spina Bifida Association of America and the Agent Orange Class Assistance Project, the families spend a week living in two homelike lodges on the hospital's 1200-acre riverfront campus. During their week as "campers," the parents, children with spina bifida (ages 10 to 14) and their siblings participate in fun activities designed to be instructive and insightful as well. Side trips to nearby Jamestown and Williamsburg provide exposure to American history and a way to share a vacation-like experience.

At Camp Pamunkey, the campers can swim in the hospital's outdoor pool, hear from therapists and other specialists, canoe, engage in a family art project and go through a "ROPES" course of obstacles and elements useful in team building and group therapy.

A camp nurse is also available to advise families about personal matters such as sexuality and bowel/bladder concerns.

"We just can't say enough about Camp Pamunkey," wrote the Dickey family. "The staff was caring and always helpful. We learned so much in all the seminars. [They] have given us much to think about and work toward."

Summer Challenge Program Hilton Head Island, South Carolina

The Summer Challenge Program at the Island Recreation Center on Hilton Head Island, S.C., is a 10-week inclusion camp that mixes children with and without disabilities. Campers ages five to 15 are divided into classes by grade, age and mental and physical capabilities. The adults who work in the program have experience working in special education or early childhood education.

Children of all races, ages and abilities in the camp learn to share, support and accept children who have special needs. The Challenge Program is the only one in South Carolina and one of only two camps in the Southeast that combines children with special needs and those without.

The purpose of the program is to enrich the summer for children with mental and physical disabilities while they continue to develop motor, social and cognitive skills. Campers participate in a variety of activities including arts and crafts, field trips, cookouts, tennis lessons, swimming and quiet and active games.

In addition to the regular camp activities, children in the Challenge Program receive educational instruction from a middle school teacher. Each child's teacher lists goals for the child to attain throughout the summer, while helping the child retain what he or she learned during the previous school year.

The local Parent-to-Parent Support Group helped begin the Summer Challenge Program and collected funds from local organizations to send financially needy children with disabilities to summer camp.

"Without this program, many children would sit home all summer with little involvement with other children," wrote two mothers. "These activities continue the learning skills that these children have worked so hard for during the regular school year."
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Title Annotation:camps for handicapped children
Publication:The Exceptional Parent
Date:Apr 1, 1993
Previous Article:Being realistic.
Next Article:Adventures in camping.

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