An annual archdiocesan summer camp in Montgomery County has been giving kids with disabilities “a bit of heaven on earth,” said coordinators.
Now in its third decade, Camp Rainbow offers what staffers have called “eight weeks of organized chaos” to residents of St. Edmond’s Home for Children.
Operated by archdiocesan Catholic Social Services (CSS), the Rosemont-based intermediate care facility serves children, aged six weeks to 21 years, who are affected by a range of profound physical and intellectual disabilities.
The first Catholic home of its kind in the United States, St. Edmond’s is part of the continuum of support offered through CSS’s developmental programs division.
Typically, Camp Rainbow features a mix of swimming, cooking, crafts and gardening, as well as “snoezelen,” a multisensory environment experience designed to reduce anxiety and to stimulate communication skills.
This year’s events have centered on themes such as “fitness fun,” “sports week” and “symphony of senses,” with campers competing in relays, building an in-house “please touch” museum and “adventure aquarium,” and making cupcakes and sunflower butter-based protein balls.
During the camp’s “beach and boardwalk” session, kids enjoyed an outdoor barbecue after creating shell paintings and sand art.
Another segment, “getting messy,” speaks for itself, and cleanup will take place during tomorrow’s “kiddie car wash” featuring sprinkler tents, said St. Edmond’s administrator Denise Clofine.
“Our camp director, Julia Vivanco, is an amazingly creative individual,” she said, adding that the camp had been successful “even in the middle of a pandemic.”
And that’s good news for staff as well as campers, she added.
“To see the smiles on the children’s faces and hear the giggles warms the hearts and as employees of Catholic Social Services,” said Clofine. “We count our blessings to be able to do what we do each day to make a difference in the lives of others.”
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