New camp helps build skills and friendships between deaf and hard of hearing students

Published: Aug. 26, 2022 at 6:35 PM EDT
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ROME, Maine (WABI) - It was all smiles at Pine Tree Camp in Rome as campers begin a new program seeking to help them build skills and friendships.

The Dirigo Experience works with children who are deaf and hard of hearing.

Through a week’s worth of activities, they got the chance to have fun and connect with fellow kids their age who are also deaf and hard of hearing.

Connections that we’re told are a rarity here in Maine.

“I just liked it, you know? I love camp, it’s been a lot of fun, and I feel like it’s been great to be around other deaf kids. I don’t really have that at school,” said camper Hunter Dean.

The camp also provides a chance to help students come into their own.

“They’re really learning to identify themselves, you know, who are they? What does it mean to be Deaf or hard of hearing? What does it mean to use a hearing aid to use sign language or spoken language?” said Director for Interpreting Services Joshua Seal.

This week is a first for the camp, but we’re told there’s confidence in the future of the Dirigo Experience.

“Yeah, they’ve been so excited, it’s really a nice group of kids that they’re really supportive to one another, and I think it’s gonna it’s going to build a great foundation for us to grow this program,” said camp director Dawn Willard-Robinson.

You can learn more about the camp, including their open-door policy at their website by clicking here.