HILLIARD, Ohio (WCMH) – Last summer, one local summer camp shut its doors, but this year, that’s all changed.
An Easterseals spokesperson said it’s why it made sure that this summer, everyone inside its doors would be masking up and constantly disinfecting the space to keep everyone healthy.
Jennifer Fultz, school-aged programs manager with Easterseals, said though they had a blended learning model, they found it wasn’t enough.
“Being here in person, especially with other kids, is extremely important,” she said.
Fultz said many of the children with disabilities struggled during the pandemic, needing social interaction. To make sure the kids could have this opportunity, they asked everyone to wear masks, but that has presented its own unique challenge.
“It can be difficult sometimes because a lot of our children read our facial cues,” Fultz said. “We utilize face shields when we can.”
However, when looking at the long-term picture, each day, the kids are learning to adapt.
“They definitely really thrive on the structure,” said Camille McDonald, one of the camp’s educators. “We’ve only been back for a week and a half, and you can already tell they’ve gotten used to when we go to the playground, when we go to the gym. They really live for that routine. It helps them out a lot. It helps them with socialization. They’ve just made so many friends already.”
In the classroom setting, they do arts and crafts, have storytime, have lunch with their peers, and do many other activities. They tell me the laughs and giggles make the restrictions all worth it.
“It’s important for, especially, children to be exposed to children with all abilities so that all of this is normal,” said Easterseals Marketing and Community Engagement Manager Michael-Ann Cox. “All of this is perfectly normal. Each and every single one of us are different. Children need to be encouraged and understand that differences are normal.”
Though Easterseals’ Hilliard location is full, it is accepting students at its Fremont location.
To learn more. visit https://www.easterseals.com/noh/.