Summer Camps for Children With Physical Disabilities

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by Amputee Coalition Youth Activities Program Coordinator (Revised 2010)

 

For many, summer camp evokes joyful memories of watching stars around a campfire, eating hotdogs and s’mores, and making lifelong friends. It’s a place where youths can enjoy time-honored activities such as horseback riding, swimming, and nature walks in the woods. For adolescents with physical disabilities, it can be an especially important opportunity to meet others like them and understand that they are not alone. The following camps provide such opportunities to youth with physical challenges.

CAMP RESOURCES

Amputee Coalition of America Youth Camp
Joy Outdoor Education Center, Clarksville, OH (July 24-28, 2010)
The annual Amputee Coalition Youth Camp provides youth with limb differences (ages 10 to 17) four fun-filled days of educational outings, team-building exercises, sports and opportunities to learn from peers and adult amputee mentors. This summer residential program provides a socially stimulating environment where these youths can meet others like themselves. The camp is provided free of charge to families who are members of the Amputee Coalition. The Amputee Coalition pays for travel expenses to camp. For more information on the camp, contact Derrick Stowell at dstowell@amputee-coalition.org, 888/267-5669 x 8130, or www.amputee-coalition.org/youth_camp.

The contents of the following sites are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the Amputee Coalition/NLLIC. The use of trade names is for identification only and does not constitute endorsement by the Amputee Coalition/NLLIC.

Adventure Amputee Camp
Bryson City, North Carolina
Sponsored by Adventure Amputee Camp, Inc., this camp is for children with limb differences (ages 8 to 17) and is held in Bryson City, NC, at the Nantahala Outdoor Center. There is a $25 registration fee, although this is waived for lower-income families. Attendees must provide their own transportation to and from the meeting locations (Knoxville, TN; Atlanta, GA; Bryson City, NC). For more information, contact the camp director, Missy Wolff-Burke, PT, at 540-545-7238 or e-mail her at mwolff@su.edu  or visit www.adventureamputeecamp.org.

Adventure Camp, Inc.
Middleburg, Virginia
Young amputees between the ages of 6 and 18 can enjoy camp and challenges for four days. Activities include swimming, fishing, hiking, volleyball, horseback riding, zip wire, ropes course and wall climbing, just to name a few. There is a $5.00 registration fee which can be waived if needed. Sponsorships are available to defray the cost of the camp. For more information, call Beverly Gryth at 434/293-9720, or Ed Hicks 434/243-4670, 434/263-5432 or email at meh8f@virginia.edu, or visit www.adventurecampinc.org.

Camp No Limits – No Limits Limb Loss Foundation
Rome, Maine
Formerly known as Camp Ability, Camp No Limits was established in 2004 to provide children with limb loss and their families the opportunity to network with other children and their families, as well as experienced physical and occupational therapists, prosthetists, and patient advocates. Many young adults with limb loss will also attend to share their experiences and provide the inspiration and outlook to transform disability to ability. Nature, sporting events, and arts & crafts highlight daily activities. Some sponsorships are available as well. For more information, call Mary Leighton at 207/240-5762, or visit the Camp Ability Foundation Web site at www.nolimitsfoundation.org.

Confidence is Cool Kids' Camp
Newport, RI
Confidence is Cool Kids' Camp is hosted by SHAKE-A-LEG. This camp is a recreational day camp provided to children, ages 7-12 disabled by neurological dysfunction, and is designed to fill a void in summer programming available for children with physical disabilities. The participants have different levels of ability and come from all over New England with one goal in mind – to have fun! Confidence Is Cool operates with an overall goal of providing participating children with a supportive environment that allows them to build confidence and self-esteem. The recreational activities in which they will participate are designed to meet their needs and abilities. For more information contact Sarah Kirwin at 401/849-8898, email sarahk@shakealeg.org, or visit www.shakealeg.org/ccc_kids.html.

Congenital Hand Camp – Hands to Love
Starke, Florida
Hand Camp is a weekend camping experience for children who have upper limb differences and their families. It provides an opportunity for children to try new exciting activities, to interact with others, and to just be a kid. The camp is currently held one weekend a year at Camp Crystal Lake in Starke, Florida. The camp also provides opportunities for parents to network and share their experiences. The Camp was started by Dr. Paul Bell, and two hand therapists, Ruthie Dell and Ginger Sterna. Hands to Love provides a way for medical professionals, families, and children with limb differences to learn and grow. For more information, call (352) 273-7382, e-mail the camp at H2Lhandcamp@handstolove.org, or visit their website at www.handstolove.org.

Camp C.A.M.P. (Children’s Association for Maximum Potential)
San Antonio, Texas
C.A.M.P. (Children's Association for Maximum Potential) enables children with disabilities to thrive in a recreational environment where safety and nurturing are primary. Camp C.A.M.P is a series of five-day summer camp sessions for children with special needs who may not be eligible to attend other camps due to the severity of their disability or medical condition. We also include activities for campers' siblings without disabilities. Fees can be waived or lowered by cost-sharing programs, sliding fee scales, and camp scholarships for lower-income families. For more information, call 210/292-3566, e-mail info@campcamp.org  or visit the C.A.M.P. Web site at www.campcamp.org.

Camp Cheerful
Strongsville, Ohio
Children ages 5 and older with and without special needs can enjoy all that Camp Cheerful has to offer in a day camp setting. Cheerful Day Camp includes all the activities of traditional camp sessions, including swimming, horseback riding, archery, nature study, sports, canoeing, and much more. Cheerful Day Camp is offered in one-week sessions, Monday through Friday, from mid-June through mid-August. The camp day runs from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., with extended care available from 7:30 to 9 a.m. and/or 4:30 to 6 p.m. Campers can register for multiple sessions. For more information, call Tim Fox at 440/238-6200 ext. 23, e-mail tim.fox@achievmentctrs.org, or visit the Web site at www.achievementcenters.org.

Camp Riley
Indianapolis, Indiana
Held at Bradford Woods, Camp Riley can be attended by young persons with disabilities, ages 8 to 18. The one-week sessions are divided into age groups throughout the summer. Returning campers and first-timers look forward to time-honored recreational activities like swimming, horseback riding and canoeing, as well as the opportunity to meet others with similar disabilities — all in a setting tailored to fit their needs. Most importantly, campers gain a sense of increased independence in a fun and encouraging setting. For more information, call Heather Perdue at 317/634-4474 ext. 112, e-mail campriley@rileykids.org, or visit the Web site at www.rileykids.org.

Camp Victory
Columbia County, Pennsylvania
Children who are chronically ill or physically disadvantaged need help and encouragement to cope with their lifelong challenges. Recognizing the sense of isolation and frustration these challenges can bring to the children and their families, Camp Victory was designed and built to handle their special needs. At Camp Victory, partner groups operating camps for chronically ill or physically disadvantaged children can offer the greatest possible care, support, personal growth and pleasure. In addition to the regular camp scene, activities include casino nights, petting zoos, and talent shows. Both weekend and weeklong sessions are available. For more information, call 570/458-6530, send an e-mail to fun@campvictory.org, or visit the Web site at www.campvictory.org.

Wonderland Camp
Rocky Mount, Missouri
People of all ages and disabilities are welcome at Wonderland Camp. The mission of Wonderland Camp is to provide a fun, educational camp experience for people with mental and physical disabilities, to offer a respite from daily care giving for family members and healthcare workers, and to provide and nurture a personal development experience for volunteers and staff. For more information, call 573/392-1000, e-mail wondcamp@advertisnet.com, or visit the Web site at www.wonderlandcamp.org.

 

ADDITIONAL CAMP RESOURCES

American Camping Association
The American Camp Association is a community of camp professionals who ensure the quality of camp programs. Their searchable database contains listings for camps that provide specialized services for persons with disabilities. For more information, call 765/342-8456 or visit www.campparents.org.

Easter Seals Camps
Various Locations Nationwide
With 140 sites nationwide, Easter Seals offers extensive camping and recreational programs that provide all the joy and challenges of camping in a fully accessible setting. Day camps, residential camps, and respite camps address the diverse needs of children with physical disabilities. These camps offer the full experience that comes with camping, including sing-alongs, campfires, boating, nature walks, and arts & crafts. For more information, call 800/221-6827 or visit the Easter Seals Web site at www.easter-seals.org.

KidCamps.com
KidCamps.com is one of the most comprehensive directories of camps and summer experiences, listing over 24,000 camps and summer programs, with over 100 programs listed for children with physical limitations alone. Other camps focusing on disabilities include developmental disabilities, diabetes, epilepsy, cancer, and speech, hearing, and visual impairments. For further information, call toll-free 877/242-9330 or visit the Web site at www.kidscamps.com.

National Sports Center for the Disabled
Winter Park, Colorado
For the past 34 years, the NSCD has offered children and adults with disabilities the opportunity to participate in a variety of outdoor sports and recreational activities. Outdoor mountain recreation is ongoing from mid-June to early September. The summer program now includes mountain, tandem, and hand-crank biking, hiking, in-line skating, therapeutic horseback riding, white-water rafting, fishing, baseball camps, rock climbing, and camping. For further information call 970/726-1540 or visit the Web site at www.nscd.org/programs.

SKIFORALL
Bellevue, Washington
SKIFORALL has been around since 1979, serving people with disabilities through year-round outdoor recreation in Washington State. For further information call 425/462-0978 or visit the Web site at www.skiforall.org.

 

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