Wooden Acres Announces the Opening of Vedder Village A Special Needs Summer Camp Built for Success

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Integrated and Inclusion Summer Programs available for Children and Teens with special needs.

Summer is a great time of year for children. There’s no school, warm, sunny weather and if kids are lucky, they’ll get to spend part of their vacation at a residential camp where they can take home enough memories to last a lifetime.

However, for parents of special needs children, traditional residential summer camp isn’t always an appropriate option. The ratio of staff to campers in a traditional camp doesn’t afford special needs children the individual attention that can help them be more successful when they’re back in school.

That why Shining Star Camp at Wooden Acres in Lexington, MI has been such a haven for children with special needs and a welcome relief for their families. The camp offers all of the traditional summer camp activities with a staff-to-camper ratio that traditional camps just can’t match.

The hallmark of Shining Star Camp (http://specialneedssummercamp.com) is the individual attention campers receive. Eight to ten campers live in a cabin with their counselors. With a staff-to-camper ratio of one-to-two, every camper gets the individual attention they need to succeed.

Shining Star Special Needs Camp has the philosophy that integration and inclusion programs only work when a camp believes every child must be successful, given his or her unique personality. At Shining Star, a child who needs help with auditory processing has a counselor who understands the appropriate way to speak with her. And a child with ADHD has a counselor who understands his special needs.

The primary focus of the Junior Camp Program, for boys and girls from ages 7-10, is to provide a carefully structured, small group living experience where each camper can learn how to cooperate in a group setting and take home their own personal sense of accomplishment.

The Senior Camp Program, for 11-15 year old boys and girls, is organized around a group challenge. “Campers are encouraged to build greater self-esteem,” said Harvey Finkelberg, an Executive Director of the camp with 25 years of experience running camp programs for children with behavior problems. “They’re rewarded for working together and the skills they learn and confidence they gain will serve them well when they return to school in fall.”

(Shining Star Special Needs Camp-Cont.)

The one-to two-week summer programs at Shining Star benefit parents, too. It gives them time to recharge their own batteries.

While campers have the opportunity to gain confidence and learn important life skills, a child’s eye view of the Shining Star Camp is focused on fun.

Situated on beautiful Lake Huron, the camp offers a complete range of water activities, including boating, canoeing, kayaking, sailing, wind surfing, paddle boating tubing and water skiing and less strenuous, somewhat dryer fun activities like fishing and sand projects.

Children who are interested in sports can play soccer, basketball, volleyball, tennis, golf, field hockey archery and even non-competitive games.

Shining Star also offers fine arts and video programs, photography, arts and crafts, nature exploration, a petting zoo and travel trips off camp grounds, and, of course, the classic camp out. Flexible programming allows campers the opportunity to choose an activity that suits their individual interest.

The counselors and staff at Shining Star are another key to the camp’s 10-year success. The staff is carefully selected on the basis of previous training and experience, and those who make the final cut have demonstrated a strong desire to work closely with the camper population.

All staff participates in an intensive two-week training and review program before the first campers arrive. To ensure they are making progress with their individual needs and challenges, cabin counselors evaluate campers on a daily basis. At the end of each camping session, parents are given a written evaluation of how their child succeeded and areas they might need to pay attention to.

When summer is over and children are back in school, they’ll remember the great times they had and friends they made at Shining Star Camp. Parents are more likely to notice their child’s self-esteem has grown and their confidence level has soared.

CONTACT: Harvey Finkelberg (248-543-5697)

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