Magazine article The Exceptional Parent

Camp Loyaltown

Magazine article The Exceptional Parent

Camp Loyaltown

Article excerpt

My sister, Lauren Bernstein, has had the opportunity to go to a special sleep away camp called Camp Loyaltown, where she can participate in activities such as music, swimming, and arts and crafts. Lauren, who is 19, has Sturge Weber syndrome, is legally blind, has seizure disorder, and has developmental and learning delays.

Camp Loyaltown is a recreational sleepaway camp in Hunter, New York. It is for individuals who have developmental disabilities, ranging from mild to severe cases. Campers range in age from 5 to 74 years old.

The camp is similar to sleep-away camps for teens and adults without developmental disabilities: campers engage in the same activities and live in a similar environment.

Most of Camp Loyaltown's counselors come from Europe, though there are some from here in the US. None of the counselors need to have any special qualifications, but they all undergo training before the campers arrive.

Loyaltown has had an incredible effect on Lauren, as it does on many of its campers. I can attest to this because I have seen my sister grow tremendously since she began to attend Loyaltown. Every summer, Lauren comes home with new interests, hobbies, and skills that most people without developmental disabilities tend to take for granted. Our mother, Sandy, says, "Lauren comes back from camp a lot more independent and self-sufficient. This past summer, she learned how to wash her hair by herself. This gives her a really good feeling of self confidence. …

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