Summer outreach: Camp ADAPTabilities wraps up second year in Florence

July 30, 2018

FLORENCE, S.C. – Camp ADAPTabilities just finished its second year in Florence. The camp serves children and young adults who have multiple and/or severe disabilities, including physical, cognitive, visual and hearing impairments.

Camp director April Mishler said campers spent the month of July roller skating, going on scavenger hunts, taking art classes and visiting places such as the Bethlehem Therapeutic Stables, Crazy for Scrapbooks and Narrow Way Nature Center.

A Clemson Tigers vs. USC Gamecocks fundraiser made the trip to Bethlehem Therapeutic Stables possible, Mishler said. The team that raised the most money won the competition. Clemson was this year’s winner. Rivals in Florence donated team shirts and fidget spinners for campers.

Campers also had the opportunity to receive services, including speech, occupational, physical and aqua therapies, Mishler said .

Campers were able to utilize new adaptive bicycles this summer as a result of grant funds.

“Longleaf Grant through Foundation for the Carolinas gave us the grant for adaptive bicycles for our P.E. therapy,” Mishler said. “A company called Freedom Concepts generously worked within our funding to award us three handicap accessible bicycles in three sizes to accommodate all 21 of our campers’ abilities.”

People from several different backgrounds served this year as staffers at Camp ADAPTabilities. Mishler said college students, recent graduates and even high school students served at the camp.

“We have a big group that comes from Sumter,” Mishler said. “So they drive an hour every day just to come and work with us. I think that just kind of shows you the dynamic of the outreach. And we’ve got families driving from Sumter.”

Veronica Wheeler is one of the staff members. She said Camp ADAPTabilities is a good thing, because the children who attend the camp are no different from any other child.

“They’re just regular kids,” Wheeler said. “They network with other kids with disabilities and meet new friends. And they get to enjoy the environment.”

Sandra Luckey from Sumter said her daughter Nyashia “Ny-Ny” Isaac attended the camp twice a week during the month of July.

“I enjoy the environment of networking with other parents of kids with disabilities to share information about services that the child receives,” Luckey said. “You get to talk with parents from different parts of the region and state.”

The goal is to keep Camp ADAPTabilities, a nonprofit organization, at no cost for the families who already might be overwhelmed with medical costs, Mishler said.

“Our local DDSN (disabilities and special needs) board makes all of this possible, because they’re one of our biggest contributors,” Mishler said. “We appreciate all of our community supporters, families and local businesses that have made this possible.”

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