After my injury, my mother forced me to go to a wheelchair summer camp, and it was one of the scariest things I’ve ever done, well the first day or two at least, and then by the third and fourth days I completely forgot about home and had the time of my life.
That’s the uncanny thing about summer camp as a wheelchair-user – even if at first you don’t think you want to be there, before you know it you’re having so much fun you completely forgotten about all of your outside cares and worries. It’s an escape into a world I wish I could stay in permanently.
Do you feel the same way, or want to know why I do? Watch our three videos below showing some of the best elements of summer camp as an adult with a disability.
Video #1: Throwing a tomahawk, hitting a bullseye
In our first video, we have an uber short clip that needs to be played over and over again for full effect – a young female wheelchair-user hitting a bullseye when throwing a tomahawk. Apparently, it’s not easy to do in a wheelchair (well heck, I could’ve told you that).
And this ancient art form is being resurrected at summer camps all around the country, and the greatest thing is that you can do it directly from your wheelchair. The only adaptations required would be a sling to help people with limited hand movement hold the tomahawk better.
In this video shot by a counselor at Camp Bullseye, you get a great view of the young lady making the bullseye shot. Talk about lucky. Watch a young woman throw a bullseye with a tomahawk
Video #2: Go to camp and learn from elite para athletes
A pilot program launched by Maine Adaptive Sports and Recreation last summer, it is scheduled to return this year due to its high popularity. Simply called “Wheelchair camp at Pineland,” it is a introduction to adaptive athletics sports camp with the opportunity to learn from elite-para athletes.
From wheelchair basketball athletes like Zach Beaulieu, a former college player, to Christina Kouros, a snow sit-ski champion, the athletes who will be present are pretty spectacular. Watch a great recap of this Maine-based wheelchair sports camp
Video #3: Adult camp respite at Camp Independence
Another fabulous summer camp for adults with disabilities is Camp Independence, a camp in the boonies of Pennsylvania that’s then serving adults with disabilities since 1971. It is also the only overnight summer camp for adults with disabilities in the entire state of Pennsylvania.
In this video from MossRehab, several campers are interviewed asking why they like to go each year. “Because I didn’t fit in high school,” “Because I don’t have to spend a lot of energy trying to be normal while I’m here;” a week at this camp can be a truly powerful experience.
From adapted badminton to accessible hiking trails, Camp Independence has created an entirely accessible camping experience. It costs $590 a week, but scholarships are available. Watch this great video of Camp Independence
You’re never too young to go to summer camp, and when you have a disability even more so. More anyone need we break from our daily routines, which can be rather difficult and tedious. Summer camp simply provides a nature-inspired peace of mind that you can’t get from anywhere else.
Now get out there and sign up for a summer camp before it’s too late.
What do you enjoy most at summer camp?
Watch the videos!