Camp Connects Special Needs Children With Their Siblings In Chautauqua County

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CHAUTAUQUA LAKE – A camp connecting special needs children and their siblings took place this week, in what organizers hope is the first of many get-togethers.

Patrick Smeraldo took a three-day trip around the Chautauqua Lake last week, raising money to hold the first annual Kids and Sibs summer camp at Camp Onyahsa.

During his walk, Smeraldo says he was humbled to receive the community’s support. In addition to troves of well wishes, the walk raised over $8,400 which paid for the camp.

While in the great outdoors, kids received the regular camp experience with things like arts and crafts, to karate lessons and time enjoying the lake’s beauty.

Smeraldo says collaboration among several child focused organizations was ultimately what made the event a success.

“The goal is, we just have camp where kids with disabilities go and interact with kids without them,” said Smeraldo. “We will work our way in to that, but this was a great start. It was just Earth shattering for me.”

In total, 60 kids took part. In addition to the activities, the siblings without disabilities met with adults who came from similar situations who helped provide mentoring advice.


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