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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 8, 2015
Alabama students enjoy summer camp at AIDB
Students from all over the state of Alabama converged last month at the Alabama Institute for Deaf and Blind to join their peers at summer camps held at the Alabama School for the Blind (ASB), Alabama School for the Deaf (ASD) and Helen Keller School. These students engaged firsthand in sports, arts, events and more – an indulgence in activities that tend to be less accessible to them in their local public schools amongst their hearing and sighted peers.
At the Alabama School for the Blind, Principal Charlotte Lowry said, “ASB had an excellent summer camp. We had 23 campers who had a grand time. There were fun classes in music, arts and crafts, compute, drama and activities of daily living. In the evenings there were recreational activities that included swimming, horseback riding and games. On Thursday afternoon they went to an amusement park in Trussville. The students almost had as much fun as the staff.”
At the Alabama School for the Deaf, Principal Paul Millard said, “The 2015 Alabama School for the Deaf (ASD) Summer Enrichment Camp was a great success. This year’s camp theme, ASD Has Talent, perfectly fit the wonderful and talented campers. Fun was had by all of our 38 campers. Friends were made, relationships were forged and tears were shed as campers, parents and staff left for home. Thanks to the ASD Summer Camp Staff for making this one of our best camps ever. Plans for the 2016 ASD Summer Enrichment Camp are already being made.”
Approximately 70 students ranging in ages from 5 to 16 came together at the AIDB campuses in Talladega for the summer camps. In addition to fun, arts and sports, camp programming included classes in technology, literacy, analytical skills and activities bolstering creativity, mobility assessments, life skills, food preparation, equestrian therapy and more.
Camp serves a dual purpose of giving young people a chance to engage in enriching activities on their level while making similarly-abled friends and also giving AIDB schools a chance to show what opportunities can be realized when students are cultured in an environment which caters to their specific needs. Students’ eyes are opened to new assistive technologies and skills that they can then take home to educate their own families and friends while benefitting from the expertise of AIDB staff and educators.
At ASB, “The rest of the summer we work, so I look forward to the camp because we get to have fun all week!” said Dr. Sandra Ware.
Students who usually are resigned to the bleachers became the stars on the sports fields and in the classroom.
“The students who enjoy music, drama and other things typically do not get to be the students cast as lead actors in the drama production or performing on the sports teams in their regular public schools,” Ware said, “But those are the kinds of things that our summer campers get to do.”
Steel City Jump Park, Anniston Museum of Natural History and Alabama Splash Adventure were a few of the special trips taken by the Alabama School for the Deaf (ASD) campers. Other activities included a visit in the ASD library from Kendra Burn of the Camp McDowell Animal Program where certain brave students dared to get up close and personal with some serpentine reptiles and birds of prey. Wednesday afternoon consisted of blueberry picking at Homestead Farms where, after returning to campus, the students enjoyed blueberry smoothies – the literal “fruits” of their labor!
Campers at the Alabama School for the Blind particularly enjoyed a trip to the Trussville Playstation that began in the afternoon and continued until late Thursday night.
Helen Keller School (HKS) hosted more than a half dozen campers at their annual Summer Assessment Camp. Student campers who are admitted to this special camp are deaf, blind or DeafBlind and have at least one other challenge and attend vision and audiology clinics during the week. Certified teachers evaluate the individual campers throughout the week for such things as academic, residential, daily living and social skills to evaluate potential for admittance as a regular school year student at HKS. Students enjoy a week packed with swimming and water activities, art and fine motor activities, music therapy and visits to the MGH Equestrian Center and local parks.
Campers who will return to their hometown public schools this fall hope to return to camp next summer.
Camper Randi Platt, 14, of Mobile stated, “Camp is my favorite. I love this school. I come every summer that I get the chance.” Her answer when asked what was her favorite part: “Everything.”
Established in 1858, the Alabama Institute for Deaf and Blind is America’s most comprehensive provider of education and services to people who are blind, deaf, deaf-blind or have multiple disabilities. Through five campuses in Talladega and eight Regional Centers throughout the state, AIDB provides services to over 23,500 people per year.