Summer will be here soon, and the choices of outdoor activities will be flourishing. Camp offers the environment and guidance necessary to cultivate competence and success. When considering activity options for those with special needs, it is important to consider the benefits of camps for people with disabilities.
Those with disabilities will find that camp offers a wide range of activities and social constructs to improve levels of independence and build self-esteem, while giving the options of exploring interests and passions.
Many with disabilities live sedentary lifestyles. Organized sports and activities inspire leadership and team work while improving overall health through increased physical movement. Swimming, basketball, archery, and golf are some of the hidden forms of exercise that fight that sedentary way of life.
In addition to inspiring more physical activity, camp can also satisfy sensory needs through water play, sand play, climbing, and swinging.
Camp also offers a chance to develop social skills by building relationships with camp mates and staff that become lifelong friendships. The connections made at camp will have a lasting impact on personal satisfaction and quality of life. Seeing friends with similar life struggles facilitates a sense of inclusion, and builds long-lasting memories. Being around likeminded individuals provides an opportunity to feel connected, understood, and accepted on a level that may not be found when interacting with those who do not have disabilities.
Camps for people with disabilities provide a safe place for learning to adjust to new environments, while offering the necessary supports and guidance to ensure a safe, enjoyable experience. Being around others that struggle with disabilities, and seeing how each person reacts differently, can instill a sense of togetherness and offer new perspectives on life and how to handle it. Camp provides an opportunity for people with disabilities to participate in a community designed specifically for their needs.
The entire camp experience is built to teach life skills. Working together with others teaches sportsmanship, problem solving, awareness, and perseverance. Camps often encourage self-care, and the care of the facilities, which imparts responsibility and independence. While sharing the cabins with others, conflict resolution, listening skills, and learning how to live with others, become important skills used on a daily basis.
There are many advantages to camps for people with special needs, but the most important advantage is that the fun and friendships developed at camp will influence their lives for years to come. Everyone deserves the unique and encouraging experience camp has to offer. It’s time to unplug and start making those memories.