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Camp for Disabled Kids

By: Marise Estime
By: Marise Estime

This summer some kids in our community will have sleepovers and camping expeditions, but for those with disabilities, such activities may be out of reach.

Sarah Andrews is one of 35 physically challenged kids attending an overnight camp in Gadsden County. The 10-day event offers an array of opportunities like creating fashionable jewelry, acting and lots of entertainment, and the fun doesn't end there.

Sarah Andrews said, "I like to swim, do arts and crafts, play games in a game room."

The camp started 12 years ago. It's sponsored by the Panhandle Rotary Club, and often times the very kids who've enjoyed the facility are taking on the challenge of becoming counselors.

C.J. Doster added, "The camp is really great, and becoming a CIT is a big step in responsibility. It shows you appreciate your campers too."

But more importantly, campers learn a valuable lesson to focus on their ability rather than their disability.

Leslie Smith said, "We hope they gain some independence from their families, try and teach them new things, get some new experiences away from mom and dad, meet some other kids who are just like them so they know they're not the only ones out there with disabilities."

They are disabilities that are momentarily tossed to the wayside when they enter this entertaining and extraordinary retreat designed just for them.

The 10-day camp is free of charge to any child with a disability. Due to an overwhelming response, camp organizers are planning two sessions next year, allowing more children to participate.


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