While many Iowa kids are off enjoying summer camp, Council Bluffs is hosting a free camp this week exclusively for children with physical disabilities. Many of the campers are in wheelchairs. The kids at the Junior Wheelchair Sports and Recreation Camp range from kindergarten-age to high school.
Laura Burk, of Omaha, says her 15-year-old son, Logan, is attending the camp for the sixth year. Burk says, “Being exposed to wheelchair sports has been a great benefit but it’s really the friends he’s met.”
This is the 21st year of the program, which is being held at the Iowa School for the Deaf. Recreational therapists help campers in several sports, including basketball, archery, tennis, golf and softball. Burk says making the decision to send her son to this camp was easy.
She says, “Able-bodied sports were becoming much more difficult for him so going into camp, I was really hoping he could find something he would enjoy doing recreationally.” Burk says Logan didn’t want to get out of the car the first day but on the second day, he told her not to come until the last minute to pick him up as he had so much fun.
Burk says, “As they experience those sports and have success with them in camp, it just builds on their positive self esteem.” Logan now plays competitive wheelchair basketball and Burk says he’s looking forward to becoming a mentor and a counselor at the camp when he is too old to attend as a camper.
More than 50 campers from Nebraska, Iowa and Missouri are attending the camp.