MARYLAND HEIGHTS, MO – Variety the Children’s Charity of St. Louis had to reinvent their annual summer Adventure Camp due to the pandemic.
They will now host 5 weeks of a virtual camp where children with special needs will participate in art projects, music class, games, movement activities, and virtual tours of museums and world sites.
Executive Director Brian Roy spoke on how COVID-19 has created a different sense of isolation for the people in our community, but it has especially affected those with special needs.
“Isolation for our kids is not only limited to what happens during COVID. They’re socially isolated. They’re physically isolated a lot of times. So, opportunities like going to camp is an opportunity that is really impactful for kids that need that extra socialization,” said Roy.
Campers will begin receiving packages in the mail addressed to them a week before their designated camp week. The packages include a full set of art supplies and daily activities that they will do with other campers led by a camp counselor throughout the week.
“Our kids have varying abilities,” said Chief Program Director Susan Shuh. “We’ve had to develop unique content in order to cater to their specific needs.”
Tiffani Symons has a daughter with autism who has been active in Variety programs for five years.
“Variety gives our kids the opportunity to do what any typical kiddo does the same way any typical kiddo does it, but they get to meet other kids that have the same everyday challenges that they do,” said Tiffani Symons.
Adventure Camp helps participants of varying abilities meet new friends, learn new skills, and build their confidence for other ventures in life.
The organization is privately funded through gifts from individuals, foundations, grants, and the corporate community in our area. The camps, services, and programs they provide are at no cost to the families they serve.
The pandemic has forced Variety to cancel all of their upcoming fundraising events. As a replacement to help raise money, they have launched a campaign to raise funds that help local families with special needs children.
Families spend an average of $30,000 taking care of a special needs child.
You can donate to Variety the Children’s Charity of St. Louis here.
For more information on their organization you can visit their website.