Thursday, May 14, 2009

Summer Fun for Them...

... and the respite is good for you too.

Today's Blog posting was going to be focused on Camp Courageous -- a specially staffed and adapted camping facility for those with developmental disabilities -- but as I was gathering research for it I became aware of the many other similar programs that our area offers to the disabled community. I will be expanding the topic accordingly.

Camp Courageous.
Founded in 1963 when there were no camps in this area that would accept children with special needs. Pioneering parents Marty Duncan and Ray Defrane wanted their children with special needs to have the chance to experience "going to overnight camp" like many children without disabilities do. They also realized that a planned week or two at camp would give parents a much-needed rest... or as it is called today, respite.

To date, it remains the only camp with the qualitative focus and commitment to ensure comprehensive outdoor recreational experiences for this special community in NW Ohio and SE Michigan.

  • Year-Round Facilities
  • Horticultural Therapy
  • Vocational Habilitation Programming
  • Naturalist and Photography camps
  • Geo Team Building
The camp provides developmentally appropriate activities for all ability levels. Programs and activities are age appropriate and allow for full exploration of one's own abilities, interests and goals.

Camp Courageous is located at:
12701 Waterville-Swanton Rd.
Whitehouse, OH  43571

Phone: 419.875.6826


Camp Cricket.
A variety of summer day camp programs for children 5-22 years old. Camp Cricket is held at The Ability Center, Monday through Friday from 9am to 3pm. Programs focus on building self-esteem, creating friendships, teamwork, participating in leisure activities and using creative expression. Special activities such as field trips, swimming and cookouts are scheduled.

Camp sessions are:
June 15-26 for 15-22 year olds.
July 6-17 for 10-14 year olds.
July 20-20-31 for 5-9 year olds.
Ask about overnight camp at Camp Storer for 14-22 year olds.

Registration is on a first come basis, so apply early. For more information, call The Ability Center at 419.885.5733


Easter Seals.
A one-week summer camp in Sandusky. Limited scholarships are available. Funding is available for summer day camp for children with disabilities. For more information, call 800.696.5601 and ask for Phil for more information or an application.


East Toledo Family Center.
Year-round child care and a summer camp program called Kids Kare. Summer day camp includes children participating in games, swimming, art & crafts, community garden and Special Family Events. Cost is $75 a week.

Summer camp runs from June 2 to August 22, 5:30am to 6pm., for kids ages 3-12 (children must be toilet trained.) Scholarships available. Call Jennifer at 419.691.4609 ext. 227 for registration information.


A full listing of the many special programs available is beyond the scope of this article, but others include Equestrian (horse riding) programs, swimming and SCUBA training, and more. Just remember that summer can be a fun and educational season for everyone, no matter the level of their ability. Also, do not dismiss the added benefit to you, the caregiver of that special someone. We all have love to give, and energy... but the reality is, we all need a break now and then too. Do something special for yourself, and your child, today.

Note: I couldn't have authored this week's Blog without the helpful insight of Diane Frazee from the United Way's Family Information Network. They publish an amazing Summer Programs for Kids with Disabilities flyer, and a newsletter packed with schedules of local events, websites, support groups and more. For a copy please contact FIN at 419.254.4645 -- and tell them that you heard about them on this Blog. That'll make both of us smile. :)

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