The Lowcountry Down Syndrome Society (LDSS) is holding Camp Buddy summer camps. These educational, therapeutic and fun camps run over two weeks in Chatham and Effingham counties this summer.
Effingham Camp Buddy begins on Monday and continues through June 21 at the First Baptist Church of Springfield. For children ages 3 and over, Effingham Camp Buddy runs from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. and for those under 3, the camp runs 8:30-9:15 a.m. daily.
Chatham Camp Buddy is July 8, 10, 12 and July 15, 17 and 19 at Marshpoint Elementary School. For children ages 3-6, Chatham Camp Buddy runs from 9 a.m.-12:30 p.m. and for those over 6 years of age, it runs from 1-4 p.m.
Geared for children with Down syndrome, Camp Buddy offers educational, therapeutic and recreational activities that are specifically designed with these special kids in mind. Special education, occupational, physical and speech therapists have designed a customized curriculum that helps the children retain, over the summer break, what they worked so hard to accomplish during the previous school year.
This year Chatham Camp Buddy will include a pre-teen group.
“Our older campers are still in need of a summer camp as they grow older,” said Chatham Buddy Camp organizer Pam Hussey. “We are excited to be able to offer this additional session this year.”
It can be crucial for these kids to not lose momentum when school closes for the summer. Camp Buddy promotes retention of these gains by bridging the summer months and helping prepare the children for the upcoming school year. To date over 40 individuals have attended Camp Buddy, including adults with Down syndrome, who assist the children with camp activities.
“The therapists, camp counselors and volunteers work as a team to create a wonderful environment for the kids, helping them exercise their motor, speech and social skills, improve confidence, and have a lot of fun, too,” said Molly Marchese, the mother of a child with Down syndrome and a Camp Buddy organizer.
The camp is sponsored by the Lowcountry Down Syndrome Society and is made possible through the generosity of the community, friends and family of LDSS and events like the Buddy Walk and other fundraisers —requiring participants to pay just $30 for each five-day camp.
“We give a heartfelt ‘thank you’ to all those who have helped enhance our children’s quality of life by promoting the acceptance and inclusion of those with Down syndrome,” Marchese said.
This year’s camp includes music, dance time, arts and crafts as well as bike, trike and scooter board riding. At the camp’s conclusion each camper is sent home with an individualized therapy plan, a medal and wonderful sense of accomplishment achieved through this exceptional day camp experience. Once again Chef Nick Mueller (Chef Nick Mueller & Company Catering) will be providing hands-on food preparation activities with the campers and Armstrong Physical Therapy students are volunteering their time and skills for Camp Buddy.
The seventh annual Buddy Walk for the Lowcountry Down Syndrome Society is planned for Oct. 5 at Forsyth Park. During October, National Down Syndrome Awareness Month, more than 300 Buddy Walks will occur throughout the United States. Last year over 4,500 people came out to support Down Syndrome awareness in the Savannah area. For more information about the Buddy Walk, please contact John or Cindy Bogardus at (912) 728-8505. You also may visit www.ldssga.org.
About the Lowcountry Down Syndrome Society
The Lowcountry Down Syndrome Society (LDSS) is a non-profit support group to benefit people with Down Syndrome and their families through local leadership in support, outreach, education and advocacy. Meetings are held every fourth Tuesday of the month, typically with a guest speaker and social time for families to meet and interact with one another.