Camp Blue Sky adds Birmingham location for Campers with Special Needs

-YMCA-affiliated summer camps now in Birmingham and Holly
-Spaghetti dinner fundraiser May 11 in Farmington
-Open houses April 21, 27 & May 18 at Holly location

Camp Blue Sky, which opened in 2010 as southeast Michigan’s only outdoor summer day camp for children with special needs, will offer day camps at the Birmingham YMCA this summer, in addition to its original location at YMCA Camp Ohiyesa in Holly.

Unlike other special education camps, which take place primarily in school settings, Camp Blue Sky provides the full spectrum of recreational camp activities for children with special needs. Under the direct care of qualified and dedicated adult professionals, kids enjoy an authentic summer camp experience featuring horseback riding, canoeing, a 100-foot water slide, zip line, crafts, swimming, a climbing wall, outdoor education and more, in an inclusive, fun and nurturing environment.

In addition to kids’ programs, the Birmingham location will offer an adult travel adventure camp for ages 17 and up. Campers will enjoy a stimulating and enhanced real-world experience as they take daily outings to museums, water parks, nature trails and other recreational venues.

Since Camp Blue Sky runs concurrently and inclusively with the established YMCA day camps at both locations, non-special needs siblings also can attend camp at the same locations.

“We were filled to capacity the last two years,” says Camp Blue Sky co-director Barry Feldman, an educator and former school administrator. “Due to demand, we had to expand, and Birmingham welcomed us with open arms. We look forward to providing the best summer experience yet for the special needs community.”

Campers from Flushing to Fowlerville, Mt. Clemens to Garden City and all areas in between have enjoyed Camp Blue Sky’s programs on the grounds of Camp Ohiyesa, located on 300 picturesque acres on the shores of Fish Lake in Holly. Daily transportation to Holly from locations throughout the metro area is available.

At the Birmingham YMCA location, campers will have full use of the facilities and enjoy swimming, archery, games, rock climbing and many other activities as well as trips around Birmingham’s lively downtown.

Campers benefit from a small staff-to-camper ratio. Programs are modified to fit individual needs, with a “challenge by choice” emphasis: children are encouraged but never forced to try the various activities offered.

According to camp co-director Darlene Garrison, whose experience includes 14 years with the Special Olympics, “Parents share with us that Camp Blue Sky has made a difference in the lives of their children. They laugh, have fun, make new friends and leave with a sense of independence, belonging and achievement.”

Camp Blue Sky weekly sessions begin in June. Camp staff conduct an in-home visit as part of the application process in order to get to know each other and to ensure a quality camp experience.

Open Houses at the Holly location will be held on Sunday, April 21 and Saturday, April 27 from 1 until 4 pm and on Saturday, May 18 from 11 am until 3 pm.

“Every kid deserves a true, memorable and enriching summer camp experience, and to see these kids finally having that is an amazing experience for the adults, too,” adds Garrison.

A Spaghetti Dinner Fundraiser for Camp Blue Sky scholarships and camper transportation will be held on Saturday, May 11 from 2 until 6 pm at the American Legion Hall, 31775 Grand River Rd. in Farmington. Tickets are just $10 and include dinner and a silent basket auction.

For Open House, Spaghetti Dinner Fundraiser and camp registration details, visit www.campbluesky.net, email [email protected] or call 810-545-8181

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