Southampton Camp Vacation
March is Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month. Throughout the month, we’re excited to celebrate and share stories of people supported by S:US! We believe that with the right set of supports, people with intellectual/developmental disabilities can live in, work in, contribute to, and participate in the community.
In January, five individuals with intellectual/developmental disabilities who reside in Brooklyn were delighted to have an impromptu vacation while their residence was being renovated. With three of their staff they vacationed at Southampton Fresh Air Fund, a summer camp for physically disabled children and a year-round retreat facility located on four bucolic acres in Southampton, Long Island. The camp grounds include many cabins, a basketball court, other sports facilities, a kitchen, access to laundry facilities, and many fields and pathways to explore. Arthur, Mary, Doris, Carmelo, Samuel, Assistant Program Director Tishona Myers, and DSPs Mary Allston and Shanada Lukas enjoyed their own cabin with five bedrooms, private bathrooms, and a living room.
During the vacation, the residents – practicing COVID-19 universal precautions – were active and excited to explore the area despite the cold weather. On some sunny days, they took walks on the grounds of the camp, saw deer eating grass, and heard lots of birds. The camp staff were accommodating and kind, conducted a tour of the camp, set up their cabin with all of the amenities they needed to be comfortable, and arranged for them to have access to lockers. The group had a wonderful time bowling at a nearby bowling alley, went food shopping for their breakfast, visited shops at the nearby outlet stores, and visited the Long Island Aquarium. For ease and variety, they made and ate their breakfasts at the camp and ate out for lunches and dinners.
At the Long Island Aquarium, they had the opportunity to see sharks in a 120,000-gallon tank, African penguins, sea lions, turtles and a variety of butterflies at their indoor Butterflies, Bugs and Birds exhibit. When Doris saw the shark tank, she exclaimed, “Look at that big old shark!” Even though it was hot in the indoor butterfly exhibit, the group was delighted at seeing the beautiful insects up close. Some of the butterflies even landed on them; the aquarium staff advised them to be gentle, kind and careful towards the insects. Others in the group preferred to watch the butterflies on their butterfly wall which made it easier to marvel at their diverse colors and sizes.
On the last and coldest day of their vacation, the group stayed in to watch movies, relax and eat pizza. Everyone had a great time and they cannot wait to return!