Camp to implement Let’s ALL Play—Inclusion in Recreational Programs
Posted February 13, 2012 in
GRAND RAPIDS, MI – The National Inclusion Project has partnered with YMCA CAMP MANITOU-LIN to implement Let’s ALL Play—Inclusion in Recreational Programs. The partnership will allow children with disabilities to enjoy successful camp experiences in an inclusive setting. As part of this initiative, the National Inclusion Project provides a program model, training, expertise, and an award of $10,000.
The National Inclusion Project was co-founded in 2003 by entertainer Clay Aiken, and works to bridge the gap between young people with disabilities and the world around them by opening doors for all children to be included together, primarily achieved through recreational programs and training to make after school programs, summer camps and classroom activities inclusive for all children. Its Let’s ALL Play program is a research-validated national model funded by the Project that brings an inclusive recreational experience to children with disabilities by giving them the same experience as children without disabilities. All children come together to participate in typical recreational activities such as swimming, arts and crafts, community service, physical fitness and more. Over the last three years, the Project has provided training, curriculum, and support to YMCAs, Boys & Girls Clubs, 4H, CampFire USA, and other community organizations.
In 2012, the Project is partnering with 66 recreational programs in 30 states. Teaming with YMCA Camp Manitou-Lin is another exciting step toward their goal of full inclusion. “We feel that working with Camp Manitou-Lin will help us further our mission to open doors in communities nationwide for children with disabilities to experience everything life has to offer,” says Jerry Aiken, Executive Director.
In 2008, the Project enlisted the services of The Center for Social Development and Education at the University of Massachusetts-Boston to assess the implementation of Let’s ALL Play. Overwhelming evidence showed that children with disabilities improved self-esteem, social skills, confidence to participate, and sport and motor skills. Children of all abilities were equally likely to develop friendships with each other.
“Our YMCA mission ends with the words ‘for all’ and with this grant, we are able to really put our mission into action at Camp Manitou-Lin. We are grateful for the opportunity to expand our work,” explained Greg Dodd, Executive Director of YMCA Camp Manitou-Lin.
About the National Inclusion Project
The National Inclusion Project serves to bridge the gap that exists between young people with disabilities and the world around them. They partner with communities and programs to teach others how to be inclusive so that kids with and without disabilities can experience life – long benefits. By driving the movement for social inclusion in after school programs, summer camps, and in the classroom, children of all abilities learn, play and serve together. To date, the Project has partnered with over 170 programs nationally and has impacted over 25,000 children.
About Camp Manitou-Lin
- YMCA Camp Manitou-Lin, the nation’s premier day, overnight, resident, teen, and horse camp provides many innovative camping programs, which have been featured in USA Today, on National Public Radio, television news show and in countless national, regional and local print publications.
- YMCA Camp Manitou-Lin serves over 7,000 kids annually, ranging from 4 to17 years of age, and is accredited by the American Camping Association, Certified Horsemanship Association, and the North American Riding for the Handicapped Association, Inc.
About the YMCA
Founded in 1886, the YMCA of Greater Grand Rapids is composed of eight branches that serve 183,611 in the greater Grand Rapids community. All programs are structured to develop the YMCA’s Core Values of Caring, Honesty, Respect, Responsibility and Inclusion. The vision of the YMCA is to strengthen communities through youth development, healthy living, and social responsibility.