Camp hits a grand slam

Published: July 16, 2008 | 7211th good news item since 2003

The bag of potting soil was too heavy for Bradly Fisher to carry alone.

When Gaven Urban saw Fisher struggling to carry the bag, he was more than willing to lend a helping hand.

Together, the two carried the bag to one of the three pots campers with Camp Grand Slam were filling with soil and flowers Tuesday.

Fisher said he likes flowers and likes to plant them, most of the time.

“I don’t like flowers with bees in them,” he said before getting started.

Camp Grand Slam (social learning and maintenance) is a camp to serve school age to post-school age kids and young adults with multiple disabilities from all over the county. It’s held annually by the Muskingum Valley Educational Service Center.

“It’s something out here for the kids besides pure academic summer school and is an extension of our program,” said Rhonda Carley, camp coordinator and multiple disabilities teacher at John Glenn High School.

The three day-a-week, four-week summer camp has 24 campers this year that are participating in activities like horseback riding, visiting local parks and lakes, making pizza, bowling, a field trip to The Wilds, swimming and other activities.

Planting flowers in three large pots at the Miracle League Field behind the Starlight School was their community service project for the summer. Last year as a community service project, campers wrote letters to troops.

“It gives kids the exposure in the summer because they have so much structure throughout the school year. They can reunite with friends and do summer activities they don’t always get to do,” said Diana White, a kindergarten through second-grade multiple disabilities teacher at Tri-Valley Local Schools and a camp staffer.

This year’s camp is Kate Geiger’s first, but a little more than one week into it, she was having fun.

“I like it. It’s a lot of fun. The kids are always in a good mood and they seem to like to come,” she said.

As a multiple disabilities teacher at Dresden Elementary School for third- through fifth-graders, she said it’s not only good for them to have something to look forward to in the summer but it also helps develop their social skills.

“It definitely helps all their social skills. They’re out in the community with people they don’t normally interact with. They’re not around their typical classmates and have to socialize with different peers,” she said. “Social skills are usually the most difficult for them. The more we can have them in a different environment, the more it will help them.”

Kolton Roush, a senior in the Muskingum Valley program, and Amanda Wells, who is post-school age, are camp counselors this year.

Mark Bellew’s favorite part of camp this year was getting Olive Garden for lunch, but said he also liked planting flowers at the field.

The flowers were donated by Timber Run Gardens LLC.

“I love Camp Grand Slam,” he said. “I have always enjoyed camp and love coming here.”

Published in Miracle League
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