The Arc of Sedgwick County announces camp cancellations

July 08, 2020 - 8:28 pm

After careful consideration regarding the health and safety of everyone involved, Youth Education and Summer Socialization (YESS) Camp 2020 is officially canceled. Additionally, The Arc has canceled Camp Pride and its annual fundraiser EDGE.

YESS typically runs for 10-weeks over the summer for students between the ages of 5 and 21 with intellectual and developmental disabilities. It is uniquely designed to help these individuals grow and maintain education instruction and socialization skills learned in the classroom.

Already condensed to just two-weeks, due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, YESS would have afforded socialization opportunities with community and recreational activities.  It was needed by our families and the benefits, even in just two weeks would have been immeasurable.

“We are absolutely heartbroken at cancelling YESS. Since mid-March, on a daily-basis, we hear from our families and they are telling is they are struggling more with depression, loneliness, isolation and anxiety because they don’t understand why they can’t go where they want to go, or see who they want to see,” Krystian Caywood, Programs Manager said.

In past years, assessments of students attending YESS show that students maintain or improve their communication skills, social behavior and develop friendships. Families reported reduced stress in the home as parents receive a break from caregiving and are able to keep their current employment.

YESS enabled parents, especially single parents, to maintain employment during the summer. It was the only option for many families because typical childcare providers are unable to serve children with disabilities on long-term basis & do not provide care for teens & young adults.

“We tried our best to make it possible, but with the rise in confirmed COVID-19 cases in Wichita, the extreme heat forecasted for next week and following the Sedgwick County Developmental Disability Organization (SCDDO) recommendation to not open any programs, we feel this is necessary during such an unprecedented global situation,” Kevin Fish, executive director said.

The Arc of Sedgwick County has also canceled Camp Pride, an adult residential camp, scheduled for July 27th serving adults with IDD from across the State. Eat! Drink! Give! Enjoy! (EDGE), the annual fundraiser which, all programs rely on for funding has also been canceled for 2020.

The Arc of Sedgwick County is a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the quality of life for individuals with developmental disabilities and their families through life-long support including educational and social programs, case management, respite opportunities and advocacy in the community. For 66 years, The Arc has provided unique programs at no or low cost to assist individuals throughout their lifetimes. More than 400 program activities provided by The Arc annually help to improve the lives of nearly 4,000 persons in our community.

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