News / USA

    Inclusive Camp Welcomes Special Needs Children

    Campers - both with and without disabilities - take part together

    Helen O'Brien, who is autistic and developmentally delayed, tackles the climbing wall at Camp Accomplish in Nanjemoy, Maryland.
    Helen O'Brien, who is autistic and developmentally delayed, tackles the climbing wall at Camp Accomplish in Nanjemoy, Maryland.

    Multimedia

    June Soh

    Many school children in the United States go to camp during the summer months, but what makes Camp Accomplish unique is that it brings children with disabilities together with those without disabilities.  

    It is a place for children with or without physical, developmental or emotional issues.  

    A climbing wall is one of many offerings at Camp Accomplish. A nervous Helen O'Brien is getting ready to climb. She is encouraged by fellow camper Camryn Evans, who just did it herself.

    “Just climb and make it to the top,” Evans tells her.

    “I will just climb and make it to the top," says O'Brien. "I will do it. I will do as best as I can.”

    O'Brien is autistic and developmentally delayed. Evans is not. That diversity is a big part of the experience at camp

    “A goal that we have is that as they become more aware that there is differences with the campers and as they grow up when they meet someone at the grocery store and school that they remember all the fun they have with campers with disabilities here at camp and just say 'Hey, they are just like me.'" says Jonathon Rondeau, chief program officer of the camp.

    This is Evans' third summer at Camp Accomplish and she says she can learn from campers with special needs.

    “I want to be a special education teacher when I am older," Evans says. "So if a kid is deaf, I should be able to know how to do sign language so I could be able to communicate with them.”

    Camp Accomplish is located in the state of Maryland. It's a part of Melwood, a non-profit group that advocates for people with disabilities. The campers with disabilities span a wide range. But many cannot express themselves verbally.  

    “This year we are serving 550 campers over the course of the summer," says Rondeau. "So over the last three years, we are seeing more and more families wanting to go to camps, a camp that is truly inclusive.”

    It's also the third summer for Danette Broughton's daughter, Rachel.

    “It provides her an environment where she learns how to interact with different types of disabilities and different types of people with those disabilities,” says Broughton.

    The camp has 50 staffers and half of them come from overseas. Camp counselor Ben Head, a certified ropes trainer, is from Britain.

    “When I go back home after this summer, I am going to start training as a history and special ed teacher," says Head. "I will try and make things as much like Camp Accomplish as possible because I think it is a brilliant place to, and a brilliant way to practice learning and growing together.”

    Brothers John and Conner are both developmentally delayed. Their father, Danny Mabry, has seen a change in the boys since they began coming to camp.

    "I think it has helped with their self-esteem a little bit as well as their social interaction with other kids and other people," he says.

    Mabry says he is glad his sons were able to participate in camp and they look forward to coming again next year.

    You May Like

    Vietnam Mulls Tough Measures for ‘Misbehaving’ Chinese Tourists

    Move comes after footage surfaced online of Chinese travelers harassing a banana hawker in Da Nang

    Pakistan Social Media Star's Honor Killing Fuels Debate

    Qandeel Baloch's murder puts spotlight on deadly tradition and other mistreatment of women

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Borderi
    X
    July 22, 2016 12:30 AM
    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Poor Residents in Cleveland Not Feeling High Hopes of Republican Convention

    With the Republican Party's National Convention underway in Cleveland, Ohio, delegates and visitors are gathered in the host city's downtown - waiting to hear from the party's presidential candidate, Donald Trump. But a few kilometers from the convention's venue, Cleveland's poorest residents are not convinced Trump or his policies will make a difference in their lives. VOA's Ramon Taylor spoke with some of these residents as well as some of the Republican delegates and filed this report.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video With Yosemite as Backdrop, Obama Praises National Parks

    Last month, President Barack Obama and his family visited some of the most beautiful national parks in the U.S. Using the majestic backdrop of a towering waterfall in California's Yosemite National Park, Obama praised the national park system which celebrates its 100th anniversary this year. He talked about the importance of America’s “national treasures” and the need to protect them from climate change and other threats. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Counter-Islamic State Coalition Plots Next Steps

    As momentum shifts against Islamic State in Iraq, discussions are taking place about the next steps for driving the terrorist group from its final strongholds. Secretary of State John Kerry is hosting a counter-IS meeting at the State Department, a day after defense ministers from more than 30 countries reviewed and agreed upon a course of action. VOA Pentagon correspondent Carla Babb reports.
    Video

    Video Russia's Participation at Brazil Olympic Games Still In Question

    The International Olympic Committee has delayed a decision on whether to ban all Russian teams from competing in next month's Olympic Games in Brazil over allegations of an elaborate doping scheme. The World Anti-Doping Agency recently released an independent report alleging widespread doping by Russian athletes at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. So far, only Russian track and field athletes have been barred from the Summer Games in Brazil. VOA's Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.
    Video

    Video Millennials Could Determine Who Wins Race to White House

    With only four months to go until Americans elect a new president, one group of voters is getting a lot more attention these days: those ages 18 to 35, a generation known as millennials. It’s a demographic that some analysts say could have the power to decide the 2016 election. But a lot depends on whether they actually turn out to vote. VOA’s Alexa Lamanna reports.
    Video

    Video Number of Syrian Refugees Arriving in US Jumps

    The United States is committed to resettling 85,000 refugees from around the world by October. Of that number, 10,000 will come from Syria and already some 4,000 Syrian refugees have arrived in the United States, many of them settling in the state of Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports from Chicago, their arrival is not the end of a difficult journey to find peace and stability.
    Video

    Video Rio’s Trams Await Olympic Tourists

    Over the past century, many cities around the world replaced electric trams, prone to breakdowns and backups, with faster and more spacious buses. But for some reason restored antique trams are a huge tourist attraction. So it’s no wonder the authorities in Rio de Janeiro are busy restoring their city’s old tram line ahead of the Summer Olympic Games. VOA’ George Putic reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora