Venturing into the great outdoors several times in 2011 were over 45 individuals with developmental disabilities. They were able to experience the joy of camping including, campfires, swimming, and learning about various aspects of nature.
The Outdoor Adventures Program cultivates positive growth through new experiences and challenging adventures. It is sponsored by the Association for persons with Intellectual Disabilities (AID), which works in conjunction with VIP Industries. The participants have gone camping at some of the state parks in the area, such as Lake Wappapello, and Arrowhead Campgrounds in Glen Allen.
In addition to learning about how to set up a campsite, the campers learned how to identify poison ivy and other plants of Missouri, such as the Virginia creeper, venomous and non-venomous snakes of Missouri, edible and non-edible mushrooms of the region, and about the flood of 2011 and the damage it caused.
“We watched a film on the flood,” said Doug, a Marble Hill workshop employee. “They also showed us all the big boulders and rocks that moved because of the flood.”
While Doug enjoyed the nature lessons and learned many new things, he admits that the food was his favorite part about the weekend.
As for Wendy, who camped at Arrowhead Campgrounds, she said she enjoyed everything about the weekend. She and 11 co-workers swam in the river, cooked food on a grill, worked on craft projects, and enjoyed the camaraderie around a campfire.
“I’ve gone camping before, but not this kind,” Wendy said, adding that she used to go camping with her family. “Here was a much better deal.”
The Fruitland workshop employee enjoyed having her friends and staff around the entire weekend, as well as spending time outdoors.
“It was just like being at home,” Wendy said. “The gals I was with were just like my sisters.”
While Cape workshop employee, Dorothy, enjoyed using the river to practice floating, she enjoyed just wading her feet in the water while sitting on a lawn chair. She also liked being able to work on different crafts, such as decorating T-shirts and flip-flops.
Mary Jane, also a Cape workshop employee, enjoyed every part of the camping trip, she said.
“It’s peace and quiet out there. It’s nice and you get away from everybody,” Mary Jane said.
As to whether or not the campers would go camping again, many of them said they would not hesitate at the opportunity.
“I’d go in a heartbeat,” Doug said.
Mary Jane agreed.
“I’m ready to go back,” she said.
Plans for Outdoor Adventures are currently underway for the 2012 season. It is the goal of the Outdoor Adventures Program to teach skills in socialization, improve communication, participation, and to provide an environment which encourages their overall growth and development.
If you are interested in participating or volunteering for the Outdoor Adventures program, are an avid camper, or just have a love for nature and would like to mentor others who wish to learn, please contact us by clicking the Contact Us link at the top of the page.
|AID Outdoor Adventures|