Summer camp providing classic Maine experiences for kids with disabilities
Discovering abilities together.
"That's our tagline. It really is all about them figuring all those pieces out and learning about themselves."
Nearly 100 kids with disabilities are able to enjoy a real Maine summer camp experience week thanks to Pine Tree Camp.
"It's a traditional summer camp but everything is accessible. We don't really think about accessibility or how we are going to do it but if someone wants to do it we make it work."
Since 1945 the camp has welcomed all who could benefit regardless of their disability.
"It just means that everybody is the same, everybody can experience the fun that we might not be able to have at home."
"They don't have to think about am I going to fit in, am I going to be able to do this, can I make friends. It just happens."
Each summer more than 600 kids and adults from throughout the country are able to swim, hike, fish and much more.
"I'm a fish, that's what my mom calls me."
"It's fun and you get to meet kids that you can't hang out with at school and see all the different disabilities. You feel like you're lucky seeing people do more stuff than you can."
Campers tell us being there allows them to feel like every other kid.
"Honestly, the fact is when you come here you don't have to feel the same, you can feel like a normal person."
Don says without the help of the staff, camp wouldn't be possible.
"They want to be here. They want to learn. They want to take back what they learn to what country they are from, whatever program they are going to work in."
Next week they are gearing up for camp communicate week, the only one of its kind in Maine, just for nonverbal kids and their families.
"Parents can do workshops and kids come and actually use their devices at camp and families can see how that can integrate into their day to day life not just their school setting or in a clinical setting."
To learn more about Pine Tree Camp or how to get involved you can visit pinetreesociety.org.