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Camp Helps Children With Disabilities Learn Independence

Evening Edition

Aired 8/12/13 on KPBS News.

The Adaptive Sports and Recreation Association in National City provides year-round support for children in wheelchairs. For 27 years now, the group has hosted a summer camp for children between the ages of 4 and 18.

The Adaptive Sports and Recreation Association in National City provides year-round support for children in wheelchairs. For 27 years now, the group has hosted a summer camp for children between the ages of 4 and 18.

From trying to hit the bulls eye with archery to taking a swing at golf, the Junior Wheelchair Sports Camp is the country's largest for children with permanent physical disabilities.

What's unique about this program is they start at age four building confidence, core strength and developing independence so children no longer rely on their parents to wheel them around.

"I attribute everything I am today to this camp and being involved in sport," said Patrick Ivison, who has a spinal cord injury and has been coming to this camp for 15 years.

He's done it all and for the first time is volunteering to inspire other kids.

This camp is a building block to provide kids in wheelchairs the same opportunities able-bodied children have. From competing in wheelchair rugby and tennis to swimming lessons. Director Jon Richards said the camp also provides children with financial assistance to attend. The group accepts donations to help sponsor admission for some campers.

"Especially with this population they have medical issues, bills and so what we don't want them to do is not attend due to financial hardships," Richards said.

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