Friday, April 10, 2015
Camping Benefits for the Disabled
Camping Benefits for the Disabled
When it comes to people who have physical handicaps, camping can be a challenge. For example, an article out of the Saturday Evening Post talks about kids on crutches getting the opportunity to spend some time outdoors camping. The campsite is located in the Pocono Mountains in Pennsylvania. This camp in 1954 had approximately 6,500 kids in attendance over the course of 100 different camps during the summer. At the camp, the campers on crutches will participate in activities such as hiking, swimming, making campfires, sleeping outdoors, and playing sports. All of these events taken part in, were the same events an individual without any handicaps would do when enjoying a summer weekend in the outdoors, only a little slower pace2.
In another article from the New York Times, kids with disabilities such as autism,
hyperactivity, and other unlisted handicaps, would be able to experience hiking, camping, and fishing in the outdoors for 11 days. For most of the children at the camp, it was their first time to get a chance to spend time in the outdoors. Because of that, many questions came up from the parents concerning over where the kids would be staying, the presence of medical attention, and if proper care would be given to the kids with disabilities. However, many counselors at the camp had it under control as one parent added: “There are counselors everywhere. I’m impressed”1. Being able to spend some time away from the city of New York and be amongst other campers creating crafts, playing games and activities, and just enjoying the wilderness was nothing less than positive, soothing, and most importantly - fun.
A third article, also from the New York Times, Camp Shelter Island, is an outdoor camp for the blind and physically handicapped of all ages. At Camp Shelter Island, campers are expected to dress and feed themselves unless there is a serious problem or disability that prohibits doing so. Many attendees are referred to the camp by medical professionals. The 13 members on staff, which are full-time college students, have little experience with working with the disabled and are there mainly to lead them through activities such as crafting, playing games, swimming, and fishing. When these disabled individuals get the chance participate in crafts or games, their minds tend to forget about their disabilities and instead focus on the task at hand. This is a great relaxation technique to help lower stress levels in these handicapped folks.
There are many benefits of camping for the physically disabled, like getting a chance to get outdoors and get some fresh air. One important benefit is that it is an ego booster for the campers. The disabled tend to forget about their disabilities and relish on their successes during the camp such as completing a hike, or learning how to make a campfire. This benefit is directly relate to the affective domain of Bloom’s taxonomy of learning. Another benefit for the campers is being able to be outdoors is and getting away from a sedentary lifestyle. Whether it is the simple hobby of fishing,or the relaxation of a hike through some trails, these individuals are able to be outside, experiencing the euphoria of physical exercise. The benefit of the disabled getting outside to exercise is considered the psychomotor domain of Bloom’s taxonomy of learning. One more significant benefit these various campers have shown, is the remembrance of the camps and the activities they learned during them. Several participants made comments about being anxious to attend the camp next year, or exited to go fishing and play games again. This is a direct representation of the last of Bloom’s taxonomy of learning, the cognitive domain.
1.R. W. (1995, Jun 11). Children with disabilities get a chance at camping. New York Times (1923-Current File) Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/109522814?accountid=7078
2.Spencer, S. M. (1954). THE SE KIDS GO CAMPING ON CRUTCHES. Saturday Evening Post, 226(50), 28-114.