|Camp Arrowhead buddies in the waters of Lake Cochituate.|
Photo by Ken McGagh, MetroWest Daily News Staff.
Camp Arrowhead on the shores of Lake Cochituate (just outside Boston) is sponsored by the Town of Natick Recreation and Parks Department. The day camp serves both kids (age 5 and older) and adults with a wide range of disabilities from late June through mid August. A one week trip to Lion's Pride Camp in Durham, NH offers a residential experience later in August. Camp Arrowhead is open to Natick residents with some spaces available to non-residents. Each camper is paired with a teen companion in what appears to be a very successful community-based support system.
Camp Jabberwocky is a small residential vacation camp for kids and adults on Martha's Vineyard, that originally began as an opportunity for kids with cerebral palsy and has since expanded its audience, serving about 100 campers each year. Activities include dance, community plays, jet-skiing and para sailing, with occasional visitations by island celebrities. Campers and staff are profoundly dedicated.
The Bridge Center offers several summer day camp experiences in southeastern Massachusetts, specifically oriented towards campers with autism spectrum disorders, learning and cognitive disabilities, and behavioral issues. Campers are organized into small groups based on disability similarities and engage in both traditional and therapeutic recreation activities including swimming, archery, horseback riding, and a low ropes course.
Camp Howe in Goshen is over 80 years strong and offers a full range of traditional day, overnight and weekly camp activities on a waterfront with a farm experience adjacent to the D.A.R. State Forest. This is an inclusive camping experience. A program called ECHO works with campers with disabilities separately and mixed in with general campers. Camp Howe is dedicated to cultivating understanding and appreciation of individual differences.
|Accessible tree house at the Fowler Center.|
I confess I have unabashedly borrowed these photos in order to help promote the summer camp opportunity for people with disabilities. I also cannot complete this post without mentioning the Fowler Center in Michigan as further inspiration - a unique facility lovingly created by a visionary individual with cerebral palsy that offers an accessible tree house and a camp for kids on ventilators (with medical doctors from the University of Michigan as dedicated staff). Perhaps we have an equal here in New England - my research ends without revealing this possibility.