Enrollment for Camp Sp’Arc, The Arc Northern Chesapeake Region’s inclusive summer day camp for children ages 6 to 21 is officially open.
The camp, now in its second year, unifies individuals with and without differing abilities and will feature three separately themed one-week sessions at a new location — the Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd, located at 1515 Emmorton Road in Bel Air.
The camp, facilitated through The Arc NCR’s Family Support Services program, is a celebration of all abilities and is designed to offer a safe, supervised space for children to experience diversity and new perspectives, learn to accept and respect others, embrace new experiences and have fun.
Camp Sp’Arc runs Aug. 3-21. Themes for this summer’s camp are Animals and Environment Week (Aug. 3-7), Emergency Services Week (Aug. 10-14) and Sports Week (Aug. 17-21).
Campers will enjoy trips throughout the Maryland, Pennsylvania and Washington, D.C., region as well as visits from special guests. Last year, campers visited Camden Yards for a tour of the stadium, Towson University to see its expanding campus, the Smithsonian National Zoo, Herr’s Snack Factory and the Chesapeake Therapeutic Riding Horse Farm in Abingdon for riding lessons. Special guests included Wildlife Adventures, Ninja Abingdon Martial Arts, the Harford County Sanitation Department and more. Like last year, each separate week will conclude with a trip to the Conowingo pool.
One camper returning for all three weeks of Camp Sp’Arc in 2020 is Nicholas Washington, who thoroughly enjoyed his experience last year, according to his mother.
“Nicholas loved all of the activities, fun trips and making new friends through camp,” said Ronda Washington in a new release for the camp.
“The camp’s director and his staff did a wonderful job making my son feel comfortable — they were very friendly, professional and welcoming," she said. "As a parent of a child on the autism spectrum, to know that my son was able to be cared for by those who understood his needs, all-the-while encouraging him to try new things and be more outgoing, was a great comfort to me.”
Camp Sp’Arc offers volunteer opportunities for those age 14 and above; volunteers, or “buddies” are matched with campers as they participate in activities and build new friendships. The camp is also equipped to accommodate children with behavioral challenges and who require medication administration throughout the day, as trained professionals from The Arc NCR will be on-site to assist.
“We were thrilled with the success of Camp Sp’Arc last year,” says Phil Givens, the camp’s director, and a respite supervisor for The Arc NCR. “This year promises to provide an even more enhanced experience that all children, regardless of ability, won’t forget.”