Monday, July 15, 2024

Fourth annual Camp Starfish ends with grand parade


Featuring specially designed posters handmade with love, the fourth annual Camp Starfish grand finale parade certainly brought awareness to the San Pedro community: children with special needs are here, and we are all more alike than different. The two-week camp held at the San Pedro Lions Den on July 17th, 19th, 21st, 24th, 26th, and 28th focused on the community’s special needs individuals.
The two weeks of activities focused on making education fun, and based on the giggles and laughter coming out of the Den during camp days, it was a total success! With 45 children registered for camp this year (7 more than in 2016), Camp founder Dalia Alamilla and Coordinator Sarah Freudenberg tried to ensure that music and movement were incorporated in the curriculum to get the children up and moving.
In between all the movement and play, children also did arts and crafts, focusing on healthy food plates, painting fruit and vegetables, and even did animal yoga while learning new songs and dances. During the last day of camp, high school buddies (camp helpers) worked on the parade posters, adding colors and designs to the various phrases about children with disabilities. The fun parade through town ended at the Lions Den, where Camp Starfish held a party for the children and their families, handing out special awards to the many individuals who made a significant mark during camp. Among those who were recognized were four special education teachers who travelled from Boston, Massachusetts USA to host the camp. They are Krysten Aborn, Rebecca Gagne, Kylie Nelson and Erica Gomes. After the recognition ceremony, a piñata was burst, and children were given their goody bag treats.
Camp Starfish thanks donors/sponsors Blackadore Caye, Blue Water Grill, San Pedro Town Council, Castillo’s Hardware, San Pedro Lions Club, Pineapple’s Restaurant at Ramon’s Village, Reef Radio, Caliente, Denny’s Store, Dorado’s Store, and Sandbar. Special thanks also go out to the volunteers who dedicate their time to the camp, as well as the parents who join in and help every year.

Alamilla and Freudenberg are pleased with the success of their fourth camp, and hope to continue to spread awareness. “It is also imperative to advocate for these children…we hope to work towards opening a special education classroom on the island so more children living with special needs can go to school and learn.” Both ladies are already planning the fifth camp in 2018, with hopes of an even bigger success.

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