Stonehill College, the National Inclusion Project and the Center for Social Development and Education (CSDE) at UMass Boston are partnering together to bring the renowned summer sports program Camp Shriver to Stonehill this year. As part of the initiative, the National Inclusion Project will provide training, funding and expertise using their Let's ALL Play program model to help create an inclusive recreational experience for children with and without disabilities.
The four-week camp will welcome children ages 8-12, primarily from the Brockton area, to the Stonehill campus free of charge thanks to the generosity of Camp Shriver donors. This includes transportation, camp gear and meals. The camp, originally conceived by Eunice Kennedy Shriver in 1962, brings children, half with and half without disabilities, together to help develop motor and social skills and create positive peer relationships.
According to Kathleen McNamara, Education Department Chair at Stonehill, "The real strength of the Camp Shriver program is its emphasis on inclusion. The inclusive philosophy is woven throughout every element of the program, from the bus ride to meals as well as athletics and social time."
The Stonehill site will be just one of two Camp Shriver locations in the state and many Stonehill students will serve as counselors. The College's Education Department will implement the camp with assistance from CSDE and support from the National Inclusion Project in its first summer of operation.
"We feel our partnership with Camp Shriver at Stonehill will help further our mission to ensure that no child sits on the sidelines," says Jerry Aiken, National Inclusion Project Executive Director.
McNamara adds, "The benefits also extend to Stonehill students who will have firsthand experience turning a mission statement into programming that speaks directly to camper needs."
"The CSDE is delighted to be working with Stonehill College and the National Inclusion Project to bring Camp Shriver closer to our families in the general Brockton area," said Gary Siperstein, Director of the Center for Social Development and Education (CSDE) at UMass Boston, which hosts Camp Shriver. "With extensive wait lists from parents interested in finding a fully inclusive summer program for their children, the launch of Camp Shriver at Stonehill College will increase our ability to provide all children with the opportunity to play and learn, as equals."
The idea for Camp Shriver first came about back in the early 60s, when Mrs. Shriver received phone calls from mothers having trouble finding a summer camp for their children with intellectual disabilities. Responding to their need, she launched Camp Shriver in the backyard of her Maryland home. Just six years later under Mrs. Shriver's leadership and vision, the first Special Olympics Summer Games were held in Chicago. To learn more about the life of Eunice Kennedy Shriver, visit here.
Camp Shriver at UMass Boston, which currently uses the National Inclusion Project's Let's ALL Play model, was established back in 2006 to address the lack of affordable inclusive recreational opportunities for children and promote the social inclusion of children with disabilities. Since that time it has welcomed over 700 children from low income families in the Boston area. The new Stonehill site will afford children in the Southeastern area of the state with the same opportunities. Activities include sports instruction in soccer, swimming, and basketball as well as field trips and more.
About the National Inclusion Project
The National Inclusion Project, co-founded by entertainer Clay Aiken, serves to bridge the gap that exists between young people with disabilities and the world around them. They partner with communities and programs to teach others how to be inclusive so that kids with and without disabilities can experience life - long benefits. By driving the movement for social inclusion in after school programs, summer camps, and in the classroom, children of all abilities learn, play and serve together. To date, the Project has partnered with over 200 programs nationally and has impacted over 50,000 children. For more information on the National Inclusion Project and to help ensure no child sits on the sidelines visit their website at www.inclusionproject.org.
About the Center for Social Development at UMass Boston
The Center for Social Development and Education (CSDE) is a multidisciplinary research institute at UMass Boston. For more than 30 years, CSDE's goal has been to enhance the overall quality of life of children who are at risk for adverse outcomes due to environmental, behavioral, or genetic factors. Unique to the Center's mission is the value it places on the social development of children and adolescents who have learning or behavioral problems, and on fostering relationships with families and schools to ensure the development of a socially competent and well-adjusted student. As a result of the many accomplishments of its multidisciplinary staff, the Center is recognized locally, nationally, and internationally as an institute that addresses the social aspects of education. The CSDE has hosted Camp Shriver at UMass Boston since 2006. Learn more about CSDE and Camp Shriver at UMass Boston by visiting their website at www.csde.umb.edu.