Camps for Kids with Special Needs
The younger children attending Camp Star Trails partake in aquatics, archery, arts and crafts, a challenge course, an equestrian program, team sports, and fine arts. Each camp activity is designed to accommodate children with cancer. For example, in the aquatics program, campers can swim and float down the “lazy river” in a specially designed pool that features a sloping entrance and special lift for wheelchairs or children with limited mobility. There’s also sports equipment for a variety of therapeutic and recreational water games. The equestrian program provides recreational, educational, and therapeutic benefits to children of all abilities by encouraging them to mount, ride, and care for horses; the program also fosters independence, self-esteem, and improved physical ability. If children prefer to participate in calmer activities, they can visit the small animal farm where they can play with miniature goats, donkeys, horses, chickens, turkeys, rabbits, turtles, and a host of other animal friends.
Camp A-OK introduces teenage cancer patients to the fun of archery, tennis, swimming, and arts and crafts in a safe environment where medical help is always available. Campers also participate in social chat sessions and enjoy off-site evening activities in local venues (such as bowling).
At the end of the week, teens prepare for a special prom by attending fittings for their formal attire—the fancy dresses and tuxes are donated and altered by volunteers, and volunteers do the girls’ hair and makeup as well. The magical evening which takes place on a dinner-boat allows teens who may have missed milestones such as high school dances to make lasting memories—and lasting friendships.
Cognitive Disabilities Camp
Many of us think of camp as being a summertime activity, but there are winter camps, too. The Windham Mountain Adaptive Sports Foundation (ASF) (www.adaptivesportsfoundation.org) program offers skiing and snowboarding seven days a week to children and adults with physical and cognitive disabilities.
Windham Mountain is located in New York’s Catskill Mountains, just two hours from Manhattan. Children with cognitive disabilities, along with their families, are taught how to ski and snowboard. No longer do these kids feel excluded from sports and activities just because they have disabilities. This program allows children to build their confidence, which in turn impacts their overall development. It also gives families an opportunity to bond and participate in something together.
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