"Wired" at Camp

Deb Cronheim, research coordinator

School's out all summer! For many lucky students that means summer camp is just around the corner. Campfires and marshmallows, boating and swimming, arts and crafts and...computers? That's right, at camp this summer many youth with disabilities will email friends and family back home, chat online with other kids from across the country, and hone their Net-surfing skills.

DO-IT is working with four camps in Washington state (Easter Seal, Muscular Dystrophy Association, Summer Camp for Young Burn Survivors, and Camp Lots of Fun), Camp Courage in Minnesota, and Camp Success in Colorado to provide computing and Internet training as part of their regular camp activities.

Through generous loans of equipment from Compaq Computers and American Computer Experience, creative instruction from DO-IT, and enthusiastic support from camp directors and staff, 'Net-hungry and "newbie" campers experience how computers can help them in academics and future careers-plus have tons of fun. Adaptive technology is available to ensure access for all campers.

Following are descriptions of each camp's activities including staff, dates, and contact information.


Instructor Cynthia McAuliffe and Ambassador CJ manage the Internet activities at four Washington state camps with help from Ambassador Mark and other DO-IT participants and staff. I help coordinate activities at each camp.

Camp Easter Seal West is a year-round residential camp located in Vaughn Bay, near Gig Harbor, Washington. It offers five to seven day sessions for campers with disabilities of all kinds who are age seven and above. The camp offers horseback riding, waterfront activities, swimming, arts & crafts, and sports. DO-IT will be set up in the lodge classroom the first three weeks in July offering Internet sessions and an open computer lab. Contact Camp Director Andi Reed at (253) 884-2722 for more information and applications.

Camp Lots of Fun in Puyallup, Washington is a seven-week day camp sponsored by the Pierce County Parks and Recreation Department. It serves about 80 people age 6 to 21 years of varied abilities, including those with cerebral palsy, Downs syndrome, autism, sensory impairments, emotional and behavioral needs, and attention deficit disorder. Their activities promote self-esteem, friendship, fitness and...fun! This year the camp will use the facilities of Zeiger Elementary School. DO-IT will offer Internet and computer training July 27th through August 12th. Call recreation supervisor Scott Hall at (253) 798-4793 for information and applications.

The Northwest Burn Foundation offers a week-long residential summer camp at Camp Waskowitz in North Bend, July 11-18. This camp is open to all children in Washington, Oregon, Montana, Idaho, and Alaska who have burn-related injuries and are 7 to 18 years of age. There is no cost to the children and their families to attend and transportation is provided. Camp activities include swimming, archery, outdoor games, hiking, river rafting, campfires, and lots more. DO-IT will provide daily computer and Internet sessions.

For more information, contact camp director Monique Flickinger at (206) 789-6838 or 1-888-NO-BURNS.

Also at Camp Waskowitz, the muscular dystrophy association will offer a one-week residential summer camp July 19-25. Each summer finds youth age 6-21 years with neuromuscular disease enjoying arts & crafts, swimming, singing, fishing, field events, and more. DO-IT will be offering computer and Internet sessions during morning and afternoon activity periods July 20-24. Contact MDA director Rosemary Owens at (253) 627-7575 for information and applications.


DO-IT director Sheryl Burgstahler, Ambassador Kris, and Mentor Jerry Zak (from Czechoslovakia) will once again travel to Maple Lake, Minnesota for the Camp Courage College Preview and Internet Camp, a partnership between DO-IT and Courage Center in Minnesota. Open July 11-20, this session offers 15 campers ten days of intensive instruction covering Internet resources, workshops on how to be successful in college and careers, email communications with DO-IT Scholars and Mentors, and a day trip to St. Cloud University. Participants also have plenty of time for typical camp activities such as horseback riding, camping, fishing, swimming, parties, dances, and more. In addition to this beginning group, DO-IT offers special Internet activities, including developing a camp Web site, to an advance group of about 10 campers. The College Preview and Internet Camp is open to any young person with a disability who has completed seventh grade or higher and has college potential. Although Camp Courage primarily serves Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, South Dakota and North Dakota, participants from other states are welcome. If you would like to know more contact Courage Center Camping Department at (612) 520-0504 (Voice), (612) 520-0245 (TTY), or camping@MTN.org.


In August, Kris will travel to Empire, Colorado for the Easter Seal "Leadership Camp." DO-IT will provide Internet training and presentations on transitioning to college and employment for approximately 50 campers age 15 to 21 who have a variety of physical disabilities. Camp activities run August 2-8 and include swimming, arts and crafts, overnight camping, horseback riding, and more! For more information, contact camp director Christine Newell, or Mary Kay, at (303) 892-6063.

Here are just a few enthusiastic comments from campers and staff who participated in '97 DO-IT camp programs:

"This is so cool!"

"I like them. I like how you can do email on 'em. I like all the new web sites."

"I think the computers are great for the campers. They get to use them a lot and some never get to get on the net so this is a great experience for them."

"I think it's the best thing that they have got here."

We expect an encore performance in summer '98 - hope to see you there!

DO-IT is working to expand our camp offerings across the country. If you are involved with a summer camp that would like to partner with DO-IT to offer Internet and college/career preparation activities for your campers, contact the DO-IT office.