CHARLOTTE, VT- In 1999, Debbie Lamdon started Partners in Adventure after having a hard time finding a camp for her son Ari with cerebral palsy.
“I tried to have him included in various different camps because he’s very social and very outgoing and he wanted to be with people, but it never really worked for him because he has development disabilities,” said Lamdon.
She said her son couldn’t keep up with some of the activities. So, she decided to send out a statewide survey to other parents whose kids also had disabilities. She quickly found out she and her son were not alone.
“People really wanted social life and experiences and new adventures for their kids,” said Lamdon
With her son eleven years old at the time, she decided to make her own camp and that’s when she founded Partners in Adventure, a camp for people with disabilities. Each year they host a summer camp, a winter camp, and social events throughout the year. But when COVID- 19 hit, Lamdon knew she couldn’t hold any in person events.
“Many of them wouldn’t want to wear masks or ya know wouldn’t understand social distancing. But all of my staff being teachers in the schools or in other situations had learned how to use google classroom,” said Lamdon.
So, this summer, every day of the week for six weeks staff presented different videos and interactive actives for campers to watch and do through google classroom. Activities ranged from music, art, to science. Every Friday the campers also had a zoom meet up. Lamden said these events turned the camper’s summers around.
“When my son saw himself with all these friends that he hasn’t seen in months and months on the zoom screen, he was just beside himself. Some of them, if not all of them really couldn’t be in social situations so like my son he hadn’t seen anybody since January and this was June”
Typically these camps do cost money or are paid for by schools, but unfortunately that wasn’t the case this year, Debbie offered the virtual camp for free, but she says she currently working on ways to get more funding and she figuring out how their events will look in the future.
For more information on Partners in Adventure, click here.