Last week we wrapped up an amazing 6 weeks of in-person summer camp in Manheim after a year virtual programming. It was wonderful to again see the faces of happy campers and enthusiastic staff, dedicated volunteers and new visitors. Old friends were reunited, new friends were made and members the Aaron’s Acres team and family were able to reconnect in person.
Aaron’s Acres summer camp consisted of three 2-week sessions starting in June and ending in August. Throughout each session, campers participated in exercise and physical fitness with Fitness 4 Focus, music time with Miss Cindy, impromptu dance parties and a variety of staff-led themed activities. These daily themes included topics such as:
- Out of this World
- Around the World
- Down on the Farm
- The Beach
- Chef’s Choice
- Wild, Wild West
Additionally, campers received visits from Papa Tater, Marian and Friends Ventriloquist, Jesse and Forgotten Friend Reptile Sanctuary Phredd and the Cookie Car and Party Animalz Farm petting zoo. Campers also took a trip out to Greystone Manor Therapeutic Riding Center and had the chance to lead horses, help with grooming and ride a horse.
Each day included a dip in the pool to cool off and members of the A-Team even had the opportunity to go scuba diving with York Divers.
Aaron’s Acres summer camp is a meaningful part of participants’ summers and that of their families. We are fortunate to have such a supportive Aaron’s Acres circle surrounding us and love to hear about the positive experiences of our campers each year. Below you can read some testimonials from parents and grandparents about their summer camp experiences this year. Not only does it have an impact on the child, but the whole family.
Testimonials from Aaron’s Acres parents and grandparents:
“This is my 13 year old grandson’s first experience at Aaron’s Acres and he is really enjoying it. I am impressed with the level of individual care and attention he receives, and I also appreciate that he is having fun and learning with a staff who recognize and accentuate his abilities, as well as working on the things he needs to understand and improve upon, helping him in his growth. It has made his parents and my heart very happy to bring him here and know that he is safe and enjoying camp”.
“Quite often the phrase, “words cannot express” is used to try to convey a thought, a praise, an action or a moment in time. The idea behind the phrase is that what is trying to be explained goes beyond words, but more about the emotional connection that leaves one searching for the right words. […] That is how I feel about the experience of our son being a part of the Aaron’s Acres family at summer camp. For 2 weeks in the summer, they truly become a part of our extended family. […] What makes them so great is that I genuinely sense that everyone who works with our kiddos, loves them as much as we, parents and family do! […] On behalf of our family, and I’m quite sure, all the other families who attend the program, I wish to give the most heart-felt thanks and praise and gratitude to all the staff. […] You bless us more than you will probably ever know!”
“[…] We were so thrilled when it was announced camp would be happening in person this year. […] While she had some anxiety getting back out there she loved her time at camp. When the day ended she would ask when she could go back. She would ask me to find videos of the songs they sing at camp almost everyday when we got home. This camp experience was so needed and good for her and the entire family.”
“[…] Finding out that our son would get to come to camp in person this summer was one of the best moments in the last 18 months. He loved every single minute of the last few weeks. What a gift it has been for him to be surrounded by people who love him and embrace all of his abilities despite his disabilities. If you would have asked me if I would see photos of my son trying scuba diving, I would have told you that you are crazy! Aaron’s Acres means family to our son, and to us. Our hearts are so full knowing that he is well taken care of, is challenged to do new things that are often outside of his comfort zone, and is truly surrounded by people that are patient, loving, and dedicated to providing the most amazing experience for children and young adults with disabilities. We love our Aaron’s Acres as our family, and would truly be lost without having this camp for our son.”