Rebecca KohlSky-Hi News, CO Colorado

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July 12, 2012
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Easter Seals Camp

By Rebecca KohlSky-Hi NewsAfter passing through the town of Empire on US 40 and making the wide sweeping turn over I-70, the roof line of some ordinary brown buildings can be seen to the right.Those ordinary buildings are part of the Easter Seals Camp - Rocky Mountain Village. What happens there every summer from June to August, however, is anything but ordinary. The front gate swings open and children and adults with physical and developmental disabilities from all over Colorado and beyond come to spend one week at camp.The campers fish, sing, ride horses, dance, make crafts - everything that you would expect to happen at a summer camp.What makes this week different for these special people is all the activities are adapted to the needs of the campers. If there is something a camper wants to try, the staff does its best to make it happen.The campers are welcome to live in the freedom of their disability, encouraged to be free in their fun. They get to fully be themselves. All that happens at Rocky Mountain Village is extra-ordinary. It is said to be the premier camp of its kind in the country. According to their website, "the camp is used by more than 800 children and adults with disabilities during the summer camp sessions."Twelve- year- old Haley Reichert of Winter Park has cerebral palsy and attends summer camp, plus she attends Respite Camp four times a year. Her mother, Debbie Reichert said Haley loves it. "The staff is wonderful and so creative," said Debbie. "It is a great place for anyone with disabilities, including adults."Caleb Kissler, also of Winter park, is a 13-year-old camper who has developmental disabilities. This week was his special week at Rocky Mountain Village where he attended Adventure Camp."Hey Mom, this year I'm going to do the zipline," he told his mother, Darcee Kissler on the way to camp. "Last year I only made it to the start, but this year I will succeed."Caleb also told his mom he had set his sights on catching the biggest fish in the camp."It is exciting for me to leave my son where I know he is going to have authentic social interaction," said Darcee.My 33-year-old nephew, Zach, is developmentally disabled and is a camper. Each year on the first day of camp after I drop him off, I cry because I know what a wonderful time he has and it is his favorite week of the year. When camp is over and it is time for Zach to leave, he cries. And when we drive away he invariably turns to me and says, "I want to live here every day."Special Wish ListFor two weeks starting on July 13, a Wish List Drive will take place in Grand County to help with the needs of the camp. Please help our neighbors in Empire, help special people, to have an extra-ordinary week at summer camp.Drop off locations will be available July 13 - July 27, at the Pinnacle Lodge in Fraser and the Sky-Hi News in Granby. Cash donations can be sent to Rocky Mountain Village, PO Box 115, Empire, CO 80438 Camp wish list∞ Sports equipment such as soccer balls, kick balls Camping gear/equipment∞ Fishing supplies∞ Art Supplies such as paint brushes, markers, crayons, colored pencils, glue, sketch pads, construction paper, clay & glaze∞ Face & finger paints∞ Office supplies: pens, pencils, copy paper∞ Computer equipment∞ Rewritable CDRs∞ Trash bags∞ Baby wipes∞ Non-latex powder free gloves (medium & large)∞ Ceramic pieces to be glazed∞ Mosaic tiles & grout∞ Tempura paint∞ DVDs - Kid or young adult appropriate∞ Board games - kid friendly, tactile∞ Puzzles, some large floor pieces∞ Books: children, young adults, adults∞ Boom box radios, CD players, ipod accessible∞ Ipods & DVD Players∞ Coffee mugs∞ Sippy cups∞ Pool toys/rafts, noodles, baby pools∞ Rolls of butcher Paper, white and colored (dispenser Rack for rolls)∞ Tandem bike∞ Hand cycles∞ Musical Instruments: kid sized drums, keyboards, ukuleles, floor pianos, maracas∞ Weighted vests; various sizes, for autism sensory∞ Light brights∞ Air pump∞ Bubbles∞ Kid friendly cooking machines∞ Squirt Guns∞ Suntan Lotion∞ Fun dress up clothes, shoes, hats, accessories∞ Gift Cards: Home Depot, Walmart, Safeway, King Soopers


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The Sky-Hi News Updated Jul 12, 2012 05:37PM Published Jul 12, 2012 05:35PM Copyright 2012 The Sky-Hi News. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.