MIDLAND Summer can present challenges for families who wish to provide their special needs children with the same summer camp other children enjoy. This is changing, thanks to a special camp in the Permian Basin.
We Are The World (WATW), in collaboration with Bynum School, Midland Children’s Rehabilitation Center (MCRC), and Spectrum of Solutions (formerly MARC), provides summer day camps for special needs children and their siblings, a news release said.
“At WATW, our children are genuinely included in everything and appreciated for their strengths and abilities,” WATW Director Tawny Zachary said in the release. “Participants benefit from low staff-to-student ratios, highly qualified staff, and an inclusive, welcoming environment.”
Families can take advantage of WATW for three weeks during the summer and two days during academic breaks at no charge. The camp’s inclusive environment promotes peer interaction, fosters growth, and reinforces concepts taught in the classroom.
“WATW camp allows kids to have fun, participate in enjoyable activities, and interact with other children their age,” Bynum School Executive Director Keri St. John said in the release. “When children with special needs have opportunities to play and learn with others who share similar life experiences, they begin to view their disability as a unique, positive, and integral part of themselves.”
“Over the past four years, we have grown from 60 to 350 campers,” Zachary said in the release. “For parents, finding an inclusive environment that supports their child’s unique needs requires some searching. When camp isn’t tailored to the needs of children, it can be overwhelming.”
In addition, parents appreciate the chance to send their children to a camp where they can be independent, safe, and productive.
“It is difficult to describe how good they are to my daughter and how accommodating and careful they are to ensure she is included. They are the best people,” said parent Bailey Beasley.