Camp provides fun opportunities for children with intellectual/developmental disabilities
Camp Munroe, the longest running special-needs camp experience in Nebraska, will celebrate its 35th anniversary from 3-5 p.m. on June 4 at the Munroe-Meyer Institute.
Current and former campers, families, volunteers and staff members will attend the event, which will include music and entertainment from Omaha Street Percussion, Wildlife Encounters, Amazing Bubble Show and DJ Dance, as well as activities such as a photo booth and the MMI Water Park.
“Camp Munroe is one of the jewels of the Munroe-Meyer Institute,” said MMI Director Karoly Mirnics, M.D., Ph.D. “It is one of the best camps in the country for children and youth with disabilities and complex health care needs, and the social activities it offers make a huge difference in the quality of life for these young people.”
“The goal of the normalization movement for children with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) is for them to experience as normal a rhythm of life as possible in the most age-appropriate and least restrictive environments possible,” said Michael Crawford, Ph.D., director of the Munroe-Meyer Institute’s Department of Recreational Therapy, which runs the camp.
“Almost all kids look forward to going to some kind of summer camp experience, whether it’s sports camp, overnight camp or scout camp,” Dr. Crawford said. “Camp Munroe is designed specifically for those children who need close personal support and in some cases active medical supervision that other camps can’t provide.”
For example, Camp Munroe is the only full-day camp experience that enrolls children with private duty nurses who are medically fragile and gives them a chance to be with their peers in an age-appropriate, normalized setting. It runs the only hot water therapy pool in the city that allows children and teens in swim diapers to enjoy aquatic activities.
Camp Munroe uses the buddy system, where every child that comes through the door has a staff member or a volunteer as a buddy for the day. The camp utilizes more than 200 volunteers every summer, who provide more than 8,500 service hours.
Dr. Crawford thanked the Hattie B. Munroe Foundation for its longtime support of the camp.
“The camp has been subsidized by the Hattie B. Munroe Foundation since its inception,” he said.
“The true cost of camp is more than $850 per week, but depending upon income level, families pay only $60 to $190 per week. So, the foundation subsidizes 85 to 93 percent of the true costs. In addition, a limited number of full scholarships are available for families in the most dire need.”