Camp Shriver in La Crosse brings together children with and without disabilities with the goal of teaching children to learn, laugh, and play with one another in a camp setting. It is a weeklong day camp and is run in three different sessions. The first two sessions are for children 5 – 12 years old and the third session is for 13 year olds and up. In each session campers engage in the same camp activities alongside one another. The camp creates great opportunities that promote the social inclusion of children with disabilities and to allow children without disabilities the opportunity to interact with and achieve a greater understanding and appreciation of their peers with disabilities. This year, during the three weeks of Camp Shriver, the La Crosse Parks & Recreation Department was able to provide this unique camp experience to over 200 area youth and teens.
Camp Shriver stresses what is most important, the similarities that exist among all children. Camp Shriver uses sports as a venue for improving not only camperâ€™s motor skills, but also their self-esteem, social skills, and confidence in building new and long lasting friendships with their peers. The overall goal of the camp is for the campers to develop friendships that wonâ€™t just last during camp but will be held over to the school year and beyond. â€œWe want our campers to realize that just because someone may be different than them doesnâ€™t mean they canâ€™t be friends. If the children go to camp and ride horses, play kickball, dance, and go canoeing with someone who is different than them and they have fun, then when they go to school they will have a connection with that person and create a positive relationship,â€ says Jeremy Marzofka, Camp Shriver Coordinator.
This year, campers enjoyed field trips and activities such as fishing & canoeing, horseback riding, swimming at the beach, exploring the Childrenâ€™s Museum of La Crosse, rock climbing at the ropes course at the University of Wisconsin â€“ La Crosse, a baseball minicamp with the La Crosse Loggers, touring Miller Park, and much more! With the support of the La Crosse Parks & Recreation, the School District of La Crosse, and Special Olympics Wisconsin, Camp Shriver will continue to provide children in the La Crosse area the chance to have a unique day camp experience for years to come! For more information about Camp Shriver in La Crosse contact Jeremy Marzofka (608)789-7596 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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