Children with disabilities get full camp experience - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Children with disabilities get full camp experience

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Children with special needs may miss out on the fun other kids enjoy at summer camp.

A camp in Berrien County is making sure that doesn't happen. Children at Camp Arrow may be in wheelchairs or struggle with visual impairment, autism, or cerebral palsy, but they're taking in the full summer camp experience.

Children with special needs splash around at the Camp Tygart Pool in Ray City Friday. Camp Arrow was held there this week for 33 children ages seven to 14 with physical and mental disabilities. This is 12 year old Brittany Saturday's first time at camp.

"It's a lot of fun," said Saturday. "I made a lot of new friends."

Brad Ferguson helps little Grey Yelverton swim. He turned nine years old Friday. Campers all sang happy birthday to him.

It's a joy to the staff see the kids grow by doing activities like arts and crafts, dancing, and just having a good time.

"When they're horseback riding knowing they've never touched a horse it's emotional," said Michael Willis.

Each one of these kids has two or more disabilities. It's like every other summer camp but the activities are modified.

The staff we talked to say they come back year after year.

"There's just no experience like it being able to provide this kind of joy to kids," said Susan Brook, the Camp Arrow co-director. "These experiences are heartwarming."

"I'll be here every year until my body won't let me anymore," said Ferguson.

Ferguson says campers can't wait to come back next year, and as the camp comes to an end he also looks forward to the camp next year too.

Some of the Camp Arrow staff gave part of their salary back so three campers can come back next year. Click here for more information.


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