Camp Leo Visits Hilton Head Island - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

11/22/04

Camp Leo Visits Hilton Head Island

Lots of kids spend some time at summer camp swimming, playing games or just getting away from home and parents. But what about kids with disabilities?

This week, Camp Leo is helping visually impaired children from all over the Southeast get a unique visit to Hilton Head Island.

Summing up the Camp Leo experience is pretty simple.

Four-year camper Shamel Gibbs says, "camp is just a great place to be."

This week, dozens of visually impaired kids are getting the chance to do things they can't do on a regular basis -- from things as simple as shooting a basketball to the unusual activity of shark fishing.

Assistant Director Mark Starnes explains, "If the kids aren't having fun, we're not running a successful camp"

But at the same time -- they try to infuse good lessons into the fun.

A lot of these kids end up coming back year after year after year for that family atmosphere they get from one summer to the next.

"They pick right up where they left off you know," says Starnes. "It's like they've been together all year and they have that glue that keeps everything together for the week."

One of the unique things about the experience for the kids is the opportunity to help each other out.

"With my vision," says second year camper Tyler Patskoski, "Sometimes I have to have other people help me, but with people who are worse than me I can sometimes have them follow me whenever they need directions to go somewhere."

Keavontia Washington agrees, "I'll help somebody out whenever I can, the best I can to the best of my abilities."

Campers aren't the only ones who seem to show up every single year -- the camp's director is going on 25 years and the assistant director's working on 18.

Reported by: Chris Cowperthwaite, ccowperthwaite@wtoc.com

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