Searching for social and recreational activities for an adult with Williams syndrome? Or, as a family member or friend, are you hoping to volunteer more with the WS community? Camp Blue Skies may have the perfect opportunities for both in March.
Camp Blue Skies' next session for adults aged 21 and up with Williams syndrome is March 6-10 at Camp Twin Lakes in Rutledge, Georgia, about 45 miles east of Atlanta. Camper applications are open, with all forms due Feb. 1.
What can campers expect?
- Making friends. Adults with WS travel from around the country to attend. We offer a bus from the Atlanta airport on opening and closing days.
- Activities ranging from nature walks to the Giant Swing to improv.
- Picking up a new skill or hobby with an art class or visit the Camp Twin Lakes farm.
- Having a lot of fun.
- And of course, enjoying music! Karaoke, check. Drum circle, check. Live music, check. A dance, check.
"Our programs allow campers to explore their creativity, learn new skills, and become more independent," says Dick Sesler, founder of Camp Blue Skies. "Campers get away from screens and get a chance to move their bodies, stimulate their minds, tickle their funny bones, and connect with others and nature."
Dick's son, Brent, has Williams syndrome and inspired his father to create Camp Blue Skies over 15 years ago. Dick wanted to offer recreational and social opportunities for adults with developmental disabilities “I saw it happening with Brent after he turned 18,” Dick says. “The programs and events decreased dramatically, and the risk of isolation and depression significantly increased.” Camp felt like an obvious choice since both Dick and Brent loved going when they were growing up.
Terry Monkaba, the WSA's former executive director, approached Dick in the mid-2010s about offering a camp for adults with Williams syndrome after another camp closed. Dick didn't hesitate and said yes. The first WS session happened in 2017 at Camp Twin Lakes in Rutledge, Ga.
Camp Blue Skies needs about 10 more volunteers to serve as cabin counselors, day volunteers, or program assistants for the Williams syndrome session. You don't need any experience, and training is provided. Loads of fun and lots of smiles are guaranteed. Also, for the Williams syndrome camp, a bus is available from and to the Atlanta airport on opening and closing days.
"Volunteering at our camp for adults with Williams syndrome is a winning way to give back to this community," says Dick. "You will also have the chance to foster meaningful relationships with the campers and make a lasting impact on their lives. You'll also help provide much-deserved respite for parents and caregivers."
Our volunteers often say camp is for their well-being as much as it is for the campers. Some have even changed careers and now work with adults with developmental disabilities.
Volunteers also experience personal growth because of our campers. “They have taught me to be braver in trying new things and enjoy moments in life, no matter how big or small," says one veteran volunteer.
Can't make it to the Williams syndrome camp? Click here to check out Camp Blue Skies' other sessions for adults with developmental disabilities.