Special needs kids go to camp - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Special needs kids go to camp

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June 5, 2008

Thomasville-- It's the third day of Camp Arrow and its clear that everyone here is having a blast.  Co-Director Susan Brook says, "I've always loved kids with special needs. And camp is just so much fun, I look forward to it more than anything else every year."  So do the 36 campers who are here this year.

So far their week has been full of activities.  "He's strong. He likes bowling," says Jermaine Wilson's interpreter as he signs.   Camper Allison Hickman adds her favorite part: "You get to go swimming!"

One of the highlights of the week is when the kids come here to the Hands and Hearts for Horses program in Thomasville.  "Its really a confidence booster for them to know they can do something that's so different as horseback riding. Its really fun, most of the kids are really motivated," says Brook.

Horseback riding is more than a fun confidence booster for the kids, there are some physical therapeutic benefits too. "The main thing you get balance, posture, trunk control, muscle movement that they don't normally use. Horses and pigs imitate the human walking gate. So when a child or person is up on a horse, their hips are moved like they were walking," explains Martha Hanna, with Hands & Hearts for Horses.  You can't argue those benefits, but the plain truth, says 17-year-old Teresa Fender , "It's fun!"

And there's a lot more fun to come.  Wilson signs that he loves "games, fishing, and the dance."   They're things they'll never forget.   "Going swimming and spending time at camp Arrow," says Hickman. 

Brook says, "Kids with special needs have opportunities that other kids have. We get to do everything that other camps do and we make the kids feel loved and accepted."  Memories, and a feeling they'll always take with them.

Camp Arrow will wrap up Friday night with an awards ceremony before campers return home.

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