The Meaning of Summer Camp Experiences to Youths with Disabilities

in Adapted Physical Activity Quarterly
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  • 1 University of Saskatchewan
  • | 2 McGill University
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The purpose of the study was to capture the meaning of segregated summer camp experiences to youths with disabilities. The experiences of nine youths with physical, sensory, or behavioral disabilities between the ages of 14 and 19 were captured using the phenomenological methods of semistructured interviews, document review, and field notes. Mothers’ perceptions were also gathered. The thematic analysis revealed three themes: not alone, independence, and a chance to discover. Camp experiences provided a reprieve from perceptions of disability isolation often felt in their home communities. The campers experienced increased self-reliance, independence, and new understandings of their physical potential. The findings are discussed within the context of identity development and therapeutic landscapes.

Donna L. Goodwin is with the College of Kinesiology at the University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, SK Canada S7N 5B2. E-mail: Kerri Staples is with the Dept. of Kinesiology and PE at McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada.

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