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For Arc, it's hooray for Camp Hollywood
art show 3
Arc campers closed their two weeks of camp with a talent show Friday. - photo by Photos submitted

The campers at the Arc’s Camp Hollywood closed out its two-week camp with a talent show.

Both typical kids and those with disabilities gave performances.  

“We had one boy with Down syndrome and he danced and danced,” said Nina Dasher, director of the local Arc chapter.

She explained that the talent show gives children with disabilities the freedom to express themselves however they choose in a supportive environment.

The children sang about seven songs and they also did the cha-cha.

This was the first time that Amanda and Mark Murphy had ever attended an Arc camp. Their oldest son, Isaac, 7, is autistic.

“I think he enjoyed it,” said Amanda.

They found out about the camp from Amy Ambrose, one of the camp volunteers, while Isaac was attending Rincon Elementary.

They were impressed with what they saw.

Amanda Murphy was struck by the variety of activities available.

“And then they have a lot of help and support to make it fun for the kids,” added Mark Murphy.

An integral part of that support comes from the children without disabilities who attend the camp as campers.

“We definitely want typical campers of all ages,” Dasher stressed.

One of the camp’s primary goals is to teach typical children how to interact safely and appropriately around those with disabilities with the hope that this knowledge will follow them into adulthood.

Amy Holton, camp volunteer and Arc treasurer, reiterated that point.

The camp is not just a time for children with disabilities to enjoy themselves, according to Holton, but also a great opportunity for typical kids to be exposed to children with disabilities.

This was her second time attending the camp. Her son, Michael, 13, has Down syndrome.

“The kids just love it; they have a lot of activities,” Holton said.

She praised the camp and Dasher, its chief organizer.

“She’s been such a great resource,” Holton noted.

The tireless advocate of those with disabilities is already looking ahead.

She would like the camp to expand to more than one location and to introduce theater to the children. Dasher encourages typical kids with an interest in art to attend the camps.

“We’re already planning for next year,” Dasher said. Next year. the camp theme will be “Boardwalk.”

The Murphys said they plan to come back in 2008 and more than likely many more will, too.