Nearly four-dozen children with disabilities from across Iowa and several surrounding states are taking part in a special summer camp in Council Bluffs this week. Recreational therapist Gina Munson is helping run the camp at the Iowa School for the Deaf. She says the campers are all in wheelchairs and they’re taking part in a variety of sports.
The children are adapting to play basketball, softball and tennis, and they’re trying out hand cycles — bicycles that are hand-powered, not leg-powered. The children, ranging from six-years-old to 19, are also taking workshops to learn archery, fencing, swimming and bocce.
Munson says the week-long Junior Wheelchair Sports Camp is a great opportunity for kids to try sports and attend a camp geared to their needs. “They’re looking forward to the one, unfortunately sometimes, the one and only thing they can do during the summer while a lot of their siblings are off at other camps,” she says.
“It breaks your heart in one sense but it also gives you a smile when you know that they are being provided an opportunity.” Munson says it’s a great way for kids to develop an interest in sports and build friendships outside of their family circles.
She says 46 children are at the camp this week, now in its 22nd year. It’s free for all participants.