Independence at Easterseals Camp Fairlee is a Countdown Away

Staff WriterBusiness, RSS-Business

Twelve-year-old Joel Rice, of Ocean View, already has his calendar marked for his week-long stays at Easterseals Camp Fairlee this summer and he is eagerly counting down the days. Spending time at the fully accessible, one-of-a-kind camp has become a tradition for him where he experiences independence and adventure in a safe environment.

“The first year, I wasn’t sure how it would be, but Joel is adaptable and adventurous by nature. As his parent, I’ve tried not to allow physical limitations to stop him from opportunities,” Joel’s mom, Amy, says. “Joel did not want to leave camp the first year. It was such an awesome feeling as a parent to have something like Camp Fairlee available that allows him to experience typical activities.”

Joel, who uses a wheelchair, loves ziplining, swimming, dancing, and the arts & crafts at Camp Fairlee. His parents love the one-to-one he has with his counselor each year. Each year camp counselors receive intensive training to ensure the health, safety, and well-being of the campers.

“The staff that work with him are remarkable. They form bonds with the participants. They are there for the campers and make their experience over the top,” Amy says. “Joel would go to camp the whole summer if he could. He talks about camp all year round. Finding Camp Fairlee has been rewarding for the whole family. For Joel, camp enables him to have social independence and time away from his family.”

Easterseals Camp Fairlee is an unforgettable experience for people of all ages with disabilities. During a typical summer session, campers enjoy activities including horseback riding, walking nature trails, zip lining, swimming, canoeing, kayaking, arts & crafts, fishing and so much more.

“I would tell other parents to allow their child the opportunity to experience camp. It totally exceeded my expectations,” Amy says. “The sense of joy and independence Joel had on his face when I picked him up the first time was priceless. It changed my whole world. It encouraged me to continue to give him experiences with independence.”

Easterseals Camp Fairlee, outside of Chestertown, Maryland, is one of the only camps in the region that provides a typical residential camp experience for children and adults with disabilities. Fairlee offers week-long camp sessions throughout the summer, Learn more about Camp Fairlee services at www.campfairlee.com.

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