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For special friends

Together embracing abilities, is the theme of this year’s Camp Friendship summer camp and that is exactly what they intend to do.

The camp was usually housed at the Wesley Hall Infants School during the summer holiday, but renovations at that location this year forced them to seek a new base. The initial uncertainty about whether or not there would be a 26th edition of the camp soon gave way to the joy of being provided with alternative space at the Thelma Vaughan Memorial Home in the Glebe, St. George.

Now, Camp Friendship has opened its doors to embrace the 30-plus differently able campers and eight camp assistants who have brought the complex to life with various activities for the next three weeks.

On the first day of camp yesterday morning, President of the Barbados Organisation of Parents of the Disable, Patricia Padmore-Blackman, told Barbados TODAY she was delighted that, even in the 11th hour, they were able to find a location for the campers.

“On the count of the children I am still happy that we did find some place because this is an activity they look forward to every year and we really like to see the camaraderie and the interaction. Especially for the ones who are at home all the time they really need that stimulation. They may be limited but they are still aware of what is going on,” she said.

In light of their displacement, Padmore-Blackman said she, as well as other parents, were desirous of locating a property to house the camp permanently.

“We have already lost one week and that’s because we weren’t able to find any place for the children. What has happened to us here shows us that we as parents have to really come together and really make things happen for ourselves. We have come to the conclusion, and ever since that we must find a place to call home. What we are doing is not for our children but for others coming after us and them.

“Each year we have to seek permission to use a government facility and in the event that that facility, in this case, is not available then it is all on us to find a place because nobody seems to see this camp as necessary. Given what we have to go through and given the activities we do, especially at camp time, by now we should have had a place of our own,” she said.

The camp is scheduled to run until August 10. (KC)

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