Young District residents with special health needs can attend free summer camps

June 25, 2012

Four advocacy agencies are providing free camps for young people with special health needs this summer through a partnership with the D.C. Department of Health.

The camps will serve children and young adults with asthma, other chronic health conditions and mental or physical disabilities.

All camps are free of charge and limited to residents of the District. Programs offer traditional camp activities, such as arts and crafts and outdoor sports, as well as health education services tailored to the campers’ particular conditions.

“It is crucial that these kids — especially those entering young adulthood — are acquiring proper self-management skills,” said Rolando Andrewn, president of Breathe DC. “That’s what the camps impart through summer recreation.”

Breathe DC’s Camp Breathe Happy directs two-week-long day camps and week-long overnight camps for children ages 8 to 12 who have asthma. Day camps will be held at the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Washington on Mississippi Avenue Southeast between July 9 and Aug. 17. Overnight camps will be held at the 4-H Patuxent Campground July 15-19 and Aug. 12-16. A total of 160 spots are available.

Camp CARE, a day camp for mentally disabled youth, is being held through Aug. 16. The camp, located at 45 P St. NW, provides 50 spots for children ages 8 to 16.

The Brainy Camps Association is holding week-long overnight camps through Aug. 17 in Harrisonburg, Va., for people ages 7 to 25 with chronic health conditions. Each of the camps will be dedicated to a particular health condition, including Asperger’s, Down or Tourette syndrome, epilepsy, cerebral palsy, diabetes, sickle cell anemia and obesity. Each camp will have four to 15 spots.

Respite Sleep-Away Camp, directed by Health Services for Children with Special Needs, will hold three weekend overnight camps in Nanjemoy for people ages 8 to 25 with health needs including severe disabilities, providing their caregivers with some time off. Twenty-five spots are available for each of the sessions, which will be held Aug. 24-26, Sept. 14-16 and Sept. 21-23.

Spots are being filled on a first-come-first-served basis. Parents and guardians may call 202-670-2267 to apply.

Alyssa Botelho

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