June 10, 2010
CONTACT: Gordon Ovenshine:
SRU's VIP Sports Camp shows vision
SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. - More than 55 blind and visually impaired children from Pennsylvania and Ohio will participate in Slippery Rock University's VIP Sports Camp Tuesday-Saturday. The children will try their hand at track and field events, swimming and rock climbing and two new programs, dance and dek hockey.
"We want children who are blind and visually impaired to get excited about being active," said Wendy Fagan, instructor of exercise and rehabilitative sciences and camp director. "We want them to know there are very few limits."
Up to 30 SRU students and faculty members will run the camp, serving as coaches and counselors. Participants experience a college setting for a few days because they will stay in SRU's Building A residence hall and eat in Boozel Dining Hall.
All of the activities are modified to serve children with vision problems, including long jump, archery, canoeing, soccer, beep baseball and horseback riding. The camp offers traditional, fun camp experiences such as a swim party, bagged lunch, talent show and awards ceremony.
"The point is the participants get immersed in activities and learn skills that you could never learn in a book," Fagan said.
Students in SRU's adapted physical activity program will staff the sports stations.
"It's such an amazing experience for all the participants, because they get to experience a bona fide camp," said Jordan Heberle, an SRU doctor of physical therapy student who received his bachelor's degree from SRU in May. "Kids come from all over the place. The camp really opens a lot of peoples' perception when I go and tell them that we teach the children archery. We don't look at them as kids who have a visual impairment. They're just kids who want to attend camp."
Fagan said campers will be awakened at 7 a.m. and will stay active from 9 a.m. until 9 p.m. They will participate in morning activities, break for lunch, complete four afternoon activities, go to dinner and finish their day with an evening sport and social event.
The camp culminates with an awards ceremony at Boozel Dining Hall.
Slippery Rock University is Pennsylvania's premier public residential university. Slippery Rock University provides students with a comprehensive learning experience that intentionally combines academic instruction with enhanced educational and learning opportunities that make a positive difference in their lives.