Just what the doctor ordered: Camp Joy - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Just what the doctor ordered: Camp Joy

By Sarah Baldwin - bio | email

July 16, 2008

THOMASVILLE, GA (WALB) - Physical therapists in Bainbridge found a fun way to do therapy for a group of special needs children.     

Camp Joy is designed for children with physical and developmental disabilities.  And these kids are making sure their time off is packed full of fun activities.

"Horseback riding and swimming and bowling," says camper Taylor Strickland.  

Believe it or not, those activities and more, are just what the doctor ordered for these kids who all have varying physical disabilities. "The large majority of the activities have fine motor activities," says Laura Winburn, Director of Rehab for Memorial Hospital & Manor.  "Like build-a-bear, you wouldn't think that was very therapeutic.  But if you watch the kids in action, they're reaching out pulling and picking the bears, they're actually getting to help stuff the bears, dress the bears."  

In the pool, some kids work on swimming, while others do ball tosses.  Even the kids who can't get all the way in the water sit at the edge and work with therapists on moving through their maximum range of motion.

Memorial Hospital & Manor Physical Therapist Dameca Fillingame says, "From over the summer they may lose some of the motion in their joints and that keeps everything flexible and loose until we can see them back at the start of the school term.  It also just gives them the opportunity to have fun." 

Not to mention peer interaction with volunteers their age, and playing with other kids with disabilities boosts their confidence level. "It is a great confidence booster for them.  It gets them to come out of their shell and not have to worry about being singled out or looked at any differently than any other kid," Fillingame says.

You can tell by the look on their faces, this camp definitely lives up to its name.  Camp Joy is put on by Bainbridge Memorial Hospital and Manor's Rehab Department.  Campers also got to try their hand at fishing and got some cooking lessons too.

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