Several generations ago children with physical, mental or emotional handicaps were likely to spend the beautiful days of summer in the same kinds of places where they passed the rest of the not so beautiful days of winter. Children that had challenges to face in their lives remained in schools or at home with only a passing thought of what summer camp might be all about. Today thanks to specialization not only are there summer camps for kids who play musical instruments, camps for computer nuts and camps for every sport under the sun, there are also camps for children and adults who have special needs. Among the choices are these three summer camps for the handicapped in New England.
1.Camp Thorpe In 1927 summer camps for the handicapped in New England were practically an unheard of enterprise. There were exactly none in the state of Vermont. It was against that less than encouraging background that proponents of a special summer facility for the handicapped began their annual fund raising work and announced the opening of Camp Thorpe in Goshen Vermont.
The founders would have been hard pressed to come up with a more idyllic setting for their project. Camp Thorpe is located in the midst of the Green Mountains of Vermont on more that 170 acres of wooded land. Over the years development of the camp has meant the establishment of two separate sites, one for the use of young people and the other reserved for handicapped adult campers.
Camp Thorpe provides campers with a summer experience living in cabins,enjoying the camp pool, tennis court, pond and wooded trails Most of all campers are assisted in discovering the joy and good times that all children should discover as part of their summer experience, regardless of handicaps or challenges in their lives.
Camp Thorpe prides itself in assisting campers to face the many physical, emotional and mental challenges that are a part of their daily lives with the caring support and supervision of a well trained staff. To ensure the safety and the enjoyment of all campers Camp Thorpe maintains a 3:1 camper to staff ratio. A camp experience like the one provided at Camp Thorpe does not come without a price tag. Camp Thorpe is a non-profit camp and also works to provide camperships for those who cannot afford the expense.
For more information about Camp Thorpe, you can visit their website at www.campthorpe.org.
2. Easter Seals Camp Hemlocks – Camp Hemlocks has been operating for more than a half century. Founded in 1950 it was eventually relocated in 1974 to its present location in a 160 acres of woodland surrounding Jones Pond in Hebron, Connecticut. Camp Hemlocks is a very open facility offering a wide variety of activity options for people of many different disabilities.
At Camp Hemlocks campers can select their favorite activities from such possibilities as arts and crafts, swimming in an indoor heated pool, boating and fishing and even computer skills using machinery that has been adapted to meet their needs.
The staff at Camp Hemlock is hired to achieve between a 1:2 and a 1:3 staff to camper ratio. Those who serve as staff are committed to the camp philosophy of “creating solutions , changing lives”. The campers who attend Camp Hemlocks are drawn here from Connecticut, nearby Rhode Island and throughout the Northeast. Each year approximately 600 campers of all ages attend sessions that are divided according to ages and special needs for the maximum in growth opportunity and enjoyment.
Easter Seals Camp Hemlocks is one of the larger summer camps for the handicapped in New England. The camp is accredited by the American Camp Association and the State of Connecticut. You can find out more about Camp Hemlocks by reaching its website at www.eastersealscamphemlocks.com.
3. Camp Horizons In 1979 Camp Horizons was launched , in South Windham Connecticut , as a summer camp for children and adults who demonstrate developmental disabilities. The camp was built in a wooded site along the shores of Lake Probus and took as its mission the task of providing high quality residential and recreational support for the disabled of all ages. In effect Camp Horizon tries to see each camper as an individual with unique needs and a unique opportunity for success.
The activities that campers find at Camp Horizon are truly amazing. Unlike many other summer camps for the handicapped in New England, Camp Horizon provides campers with a seemingly endless parade of activity centers and hight tech equipment as well as the ordinary outdoor sports sites one might expect at a more traditional summer camp. Campers can make use of the computer /media center, a fitness center, game room, drama center and even a hobby shop.
For those who enjoy the out of doors there are waterfront activities,miniature golf and courts for basketball and tennis. Perhaps most unusual is the availability of horses at Camp Horizons. Campers are afforded the opportunity when appropriate to work with staff and adjust to riding a horse around the riding ring.
While campers attend Camp Horizons they are encouraged to work on maintaining their basic academic skills, using good personal hygiene, mixing with others and enjoying the may leisure activities available. The camp is organized in 2 week sessions and campers are supervised in 5:1 camper to staff ratio.
For additional information about Camp Horizons you are invited to visit the website at www.camphorizons.org.
Camping is not just for the mainstream camper any more. There are lots of camp locations out there ready to meet the needs of all including these summer camps for the handicapped in New England