Up until now, the free, monthlong inclusion camp created by Eunice Kennedy Shriver in 1962 was held in Boston on the University of Massachusetts campus, a haul for children in some south suburbs who might have hoped to attend. That changed this year when Camp Shriver’s second location debuted on the rolling, green campus of Stonehill College in Easton, practically the backyard for over 57 children from the urban corners of neighboring Brockton.
Pictured: Michael Carpentieri, 12, of Brockton, leads fellow camper Danarius Campbell, 13, of Brockton, and counselor Jonathan Mihal as they walk "blindly" on a "balance beam" during a day at Camp Shriver at Stonehill College. Next
Camp Shriver fulfilled Chris Vallee’s hopes this summer. The Brockton 12-year-old kicked soccer balls to his heart’s content while collecting a wide new circle of friends. The program, which accepts equal numbers of children with disabilities as those without, offers daily swims, field sports, and arts and crafts – along with transportation, camp gear, and meals. Participants range in age from 8 to 12.
Pictured: Vallee, 12, of Brockton during a day at Camp Shriver. Next
The camp at Stonehill College was launched with help and training from the National Inclusion Project and the UMass Center for Social Development. It is one of 200 similar programs nationwide offering a blended summer camp environment for youngsters.
Pictured: Jessyca Irwin, 10, of Brockton, right, races fellow camper Kristin Kihara, 11, of Brockton on walkers. Next
The campers themselves do not know which children in the program have disabilities or not. Measures to ease the path for all are used, but are invisible to most, ensuring that everyone is treated the same, said camp director Amanda Laws.
Pictured: Campers, including Maggie McCafferty, center in gray, socialize following lunch. Next
The program at Stonehill works on motor as well as social skills and positive peer relationships. Children receive instruction in a variety of sports, play games, work together, and have plenty of free time to blow off steam.
Pictured: Nia Miles, 12, of Brockton crawls on a "balance beam.” Next
Shriver launched the camp 41 years ago to help mothers find camps for children with intellectual disabilities. Camp Shriver started in her Maryland backyard and, six years later, the first Special Olympics Summer Games were held in Chicago, officials said.
Pictured: From left, Michael Smith, 8, Nicholas Carpentieri, 10, and Kaitlyn Heath, 8, all of Brockton, find friendship at a day of camp. Next
In big ways or small, everyone has blossomed, said camp facility director Kathy McNamara, as Camp Shriver draws to a close Friday.
“These kids are no different from anyone else,” she said. “They are just kids. And all kids are good kids.” Back to the beginning
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