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Camp Horizons offers students chance to volunteer for credit

By Olivia Balsinger
On November 11, 2012

There is a volunteering opportunity closer to the University of Connecticut than students may think. Camp Horizons, located in South Windham, about a 20 minute drive from campus. The camp creates person-centered opportunities for people with developmental disabilities.
 According to the "Camp Horizon" website, "The mission of Horizons is to provide high quality residential, recreational, support and work programs for people who have developmental disabilities or who have other challenging social and emotional needs. To fulfill this mission, we are committed to continuous improvement in our programs, facilities, and staffing. We understand and respond to the changing needs of program participants, families and communities. The Horizons vision serves as a guide to our efforts."
Many UConn groups decide to volunteer at the camp, especially for one of the "Weekends in the Country." A "Weekend in the Country" is for any adults with developmental disabilities who comes to the campgrounds from Friday until Sunday on certain weekends and interact with counselors.
"I think volunteering at camp horizons was an amazing experience. I truly felt that my sisters and I were doing something great for the community. It was also a great way to bond and grow closer as an organization." Said 5th-semester communications major Amanda Lasky, who helped clean up facilities during one of the camp's "Weekends in the Country."
In addition to volunteering, there is an interdisciplinary, or INTD, class at the university that works with people with disabilities at the camp for credit.
Kaitlin Latham, is a 7th-semester biology and anthropology double major, took the INTD class.
"We created lesson plans that we used when we spent the weekend volunteering as counselors and activity facilitators," she said. "My group did ours about cooking and we had the campers make lunch for everyone. We also created a "Jeopardy" game about movies that involved visuals, sounds and questions so almost all the campers could join in."
Similarly, many students get the opportunity to work with these adults through various jobs provided by Camp Horizons, whether during the year, on weekends or during the summer months.
Krystin Caldarado, a UConn graduate, has worked at Camp Horizons since June of 2008 and believes that the experience has helped her grow as a person. "Working at Camp Horizons has been a great experience," said Calderado. "Counselors help campers with developmental disabilities enjoy summer camp activities during both the summer and school year. I have learned a lot at Camp Horizons and built life long relationships."
For more information about volunteering at the camp, visit the Camp Horizon website at horizonsct.org
or call (860)-456-1032.
 


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