Camp Communicate at Pine Tree Camp Is a One-Of-A-Kind Camp for Children Who Are Non-Verbal: Innovative Camp Is at Full Capacity

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Pine Tree Camp’s Camp Communicate is the only one of its kind in Maine and one of the only programs of its kind in the United States. From August 20th through 24th children who are nonverbal and their families from across New England will come to Maine to experience typical camp fun with a specialized twist.

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Camp Communicate is an innovative program in Maine that helps kids learn how to use high-tech devices to communicate.

Imagine that every day you are the only one in your entire school who can’t verbally speak. You have a lot to say, but you need to use a high-tech communication device with a touchscreen, a switch, or even your eyes to say it.

“For some, technology makes things easier; for others, it makes things possible.” That’s the philosophy that surrounds the weeklong Camp Communicate held at Pine Tree Camp.

Imagine that every day you are the only one in your entire school who can’t verbally speak. You have a lot to say, but you need to use a high-tech communication device with a touchscreen, a switch, or even your eyes to say it.

Then, one day, you’re not the only one: you’re surrounded by kids who use similar devices as you. You’re no longer alone: you’re at Camp Communicate at Pine Tree Camp in Rome where all the campers use high-tech devices to communicate.

This innovative five-day program begins Tuesday, August 20. It’s the only one of its kind in Maine, and one of the only in New England, and takes place at Pine Tree Camp’s fully accessible 285-acre facility with Pine Tree Society staff and volunteers experienced in accessible recreation, speech language pathology, and augmentative communication and assistive technology.

Campers will spend a week making friends, learning new skills and becoming comfortable and confident in their communication abilities. All activities and programs are focused on the independence kids gain when they are able to communicate.

“We aim to help our campers experience multiple language opportunities, past simply requesting or answering yes and no questions; encouraging them to make comments, advocate for themselves and engage in fun, social activities that connects them in deep and meaningful ways with staff, their families and their peers is our ultimate goal,” said Linda Bonnar, Director of Communication Pathways at Pine Tree Society. “We have 20 families coming this year and each child has at least one parent or caregiver with them, some even come with their entire family.”

Connections are key for these families who often times feel alone and isolated, and those connections made often last well beyond camp.

More about Pine Tree Camp: Pine Tree Camp is Maine’s only American Camp Association accredited camp providing services exclusively for people with disabilities. Every summer, more than 650 Maine children and adults with disabilities arrive at Pine Tree Camp in Rome and their lives are transformed. Driving down the camp road, campers enter a world that is barrier-free, leaving behind the confines of their disability thanks to the camp’s 285-acre, fully accessible campus. Campers actively participate in all the activities for which Maine is famous – kayaking, boating, fishing and hiking – experiencing freedom and independence. Since 1945, Pine Tree Camp has welcomed all who could benefit, regardless of their ability to pay. Pine Tree Camp receives no state or federal funding and ninety-nine percent of campers require tuition assistance, which is provided by donors and sponsors.

http://www.pinetreesociety.org

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TAMI BURKE
Pine Tree Camp
+1 (207) 838-0816
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