Access to Recreation Day Camp provides kids and young adults with recreation opportunities regardless of mental or physical ability
VANCOUVER — Last week, over a dozen campers from Vancouver Parks and Recreation’s Access to Recreation Day Camp marched out onto a stage to sing “You’re a Grand Old Flag” and perform several other songs and dances. The campers, ages 13-30, were celebrating the end of their 5-week camp season with a talent show for family and friends.
Access to Recreation Day Camp provides kids and young adults with recreation opportunities regardless of mental or physical ability. Campers socialize, create arts and craft projects, sing and dance, and spend ample time outdoors in the summer sun.
Back at the talent show, Gary Numan’s “Cars” blasted while campers in wheelchairs decked out to look like race cars circled the stage in a choreographed dance.
“I love seeing that they enjoy the show and I love dancing with them,” said camp counselor Mike Nguyen, who performed a Tahitian Fire Dance with the campers.
Kelly Lindell’s daughter, Kaitlyn, has been attending camp since she was 13.
“It’s a blessing,” said Lindell. “This camp is a great way for her to be around other kids and young people. I don’t know what we’d do without it.”
While most performances were group collaborations, such as a moving rendition of “We are the World,” others required a bit more courage from campers. John, a camp participant, brought audience members to cheers and tears with his solo performance of “Here I am to Worship.”
While the Access to Recreation Day Camp always concludes with a special event, the talent show was a first of its kind. Parents and others in the audience echoed the excitement of the campers.
“It’s important [for family and friends] to see what the campers get to do. It’s not just about being together but doing these activities,” said camp counselor Dave Carl. “The important thing is that they’re enjoying it and having fun.”
Access to Recreation Day Camp may now be over but Vancouver Park and Recreation’s Access to Recreation Program continues year-round with a variety of activities for those experiencing mental or physical disabilities. Registration for fall activities opens Wednesday, Aug. 21.
Information provided by city of Vancouver.