Camp Sp’Arc allows children to experience diversity and new perspectives; learn to accept and respect others while having fun
The Arc Northern Chesapeake Region (The Arc NCR) announces Camp Sp’Arc, a brand-new inclusive summer day camp for children ages six to 21, encouraging campers with and without differing abilities to attend. The camp will feature four separately themed one-week sessions at The John Carroll School (703 E Churchville Road, Bel Air, Md.). Each week will incorporate four unique field trips for campers to learn from and enjoy.
Camp Sp’Arc runs beginning June 17 through June 28, 2019 and July 29 through August 9, 2019. The camp’s schedule is structured around Harford County Public School’s Extended School Year (ESY) to ensure working parents of children with special needs will now have continuing support for the entire summer.
Themes for this summer’s camp are Environmental Week (June 17-21), Emergency Services Week (June 24-28), Sports Week (July 29 – August 2) and Animal Week (August 5-9). Campers will enjoy trips throughout the Maryland, Pennsylvania and Washington, D.C. region, including Eden Mill Nature Center, Herr’s Snack Factory, M&T Bank Stadium, Oriole Park at Camden Yards and the Smithsonian’s National Zoo. Campers can expect to meet the Harford County K-9 unit, the Harford County SWAT team, exotic animals from Wild Life Adventures and much more. Each week of camp concludes with a trip to the Conowingo pool.
Each week of camp includes special visits from Pets on Wheels’ therapy dogs and playtime with The Arc NCR’s new pet therapy dog, Honor.
“Camp Sp’Arc is the perfect opportunity for families who may have one child with a disability and another without,” says Phil Givens, respite supervisor for The Arc NCR and director of the camp. “We’ve created a place where kids of ALL abilities can spend their summer together.”
One child looking forward to attending Camp Sp’Arc, not because she has a differing ability or a sibling with one, is Olivia Kugler, age 10, of Bel Air.
“Olivia is extremely passionate about helping children with differing abilities,” says Casey and Markus Kugler, Olivia’s parents. “One of her best friends at school has Down syndrome, and she thoroughly enjoys spending time with her.”
Over the past six months, Olivia’s interest in helping others has grown and led to her teaching herself American Sign Language (ASL).
“When she heard about Camp Sp’Arc where she could connect with others, like and unlike her friend from school, Olivia beamed with excitement,” says her parents. “Attending the camp will allow her to improve her ASL skills and learn from other children, volunteers and counselors so she can continue advocating for people with differing abilities and educate others.”
Camp Sp’Arc offers volunteer opportunities for those age 14 and above; volunteers, or “buddies,” are matched with campers so they may participate in activities and build friendships. The camp is also equipped to accommodate children with behavior challenges who require medication throughout the day, as trained professionals from The Arc NCR will be on-site to administer.
“People don’t realize how much they can learn from someone with a differing ability,” says Flossie Rosser, a family navigator for The Arc NCR. “The more time they spend together, the better of a person they become.”
Campers must be registered by June 1, 2019, to participate in Camp Sp’Arc; they are not required to participate in all four weeks of camp. For more information, or to register for Camp Sp’Arc, visit www.arcncr.org, email FSS@arcncr.org or call 443-412-5490.
About The Arc Northern Chesapeake Region
For sixty-six years, The Arc Northern Chesapeake Region has empowered people with differing abilities to live, work and thrive in the community by providing support services and advocacy to adults and children and their families in Harford and Cecil Counties. For more information, call 410-836-7177 or visit www.arcncr.org.