National Inclusion Project awards grant for Frost Valley YMCA Day Camp program

Claryville — The National Inclusion Project recently awarded a $10,000 grant to the Frost Valley YMCA to implement Let’s ALL Play—Inclusion in Recreational Programs. The grant will allow children with developmental disabilities to enjoy a successful summer camp experience in an inclusive setting at the camp, which has served children with special needs for over 30 years.
The National Inclusion Project has been actively developing its Let’s ALL Play Program since the program’s inception in 2004. Today, the Project supports over 35 recreational programs across the country. Providing this grant to Frost Valley YMCA is another exciting step toward National Inclusion Project’s goal of full inclusion. “We feel that partnering with Frost Valley will help us further our mission to open doors in communities nationwide for children with disabilities to experience everything life has to offer,” says Jerry Aiken, executive director. Through the Let’s ALL Play Program, the Project supports recreational programs in their efforts to implement inclusive camps by providing a program model, funding, and training.
Let’s ALL Play helps bring an inclusive recreational experience to children with disabilities. It gives children with developmental disabilities the same experience as those without. Children with disabilities and their peers who are typically developing come together to participate in recreational activities such as swimming, arts and crafts, community service, physical fitness and more.
In 2008, the organization enlisted the services of The Center for Social Development and Education at the University of Massachusetts-Boston to assess the implementation of Let’s ALL Play. Overwhelming evidence showed that children with disabilities improved self-esteem, social skills, confidence to participate, and sport and motor skills. Campers of all abilities were equally likely to develop friendships with each other.
“We are very excited to work with National Inclusion Project to further open Frost Valley’s Day Camp program to children with disabilities,” said Dale Whittaker of Frost Valley. “This will help enable us to give more children the chance to participate in activities they and their families may have never thought possible.”
The National Inclusion Project provides services and financial assistance to promote the full integration of children with disabilities into the life environment of those without. The Project strives to create awareness about the diversity of individuals with disabilities and the possibilities that inclusion can bring. To learn more about National Inclusion Project or ways to get involved visit their Web site at www.inclusionproject.org.