Camp Maple Leaf (CML) has been hosting campers in DeKalb since 1979 and while not every year has there been a Talent Show on the last day, it is a big event for the campers now. This Friday, July 23 at 10 am the CML campers will be putting on a show for their parents and other guests at the Bandshell in Hopkins Park.
Camp Maple Leaf has campers from all five of the Member Districts within KSRA attend, along with a few other towns in DeKalb, Kendall, and Ogle Counties. According to Dawn Schaefer, Executive Director: “Any camper is welcome to attend camp, no matter where they live. Our program is here to help bring summer fun to everyone! Camp Maple Leaf was created to support individuals with disabilities to have their best possible summer in a safe and supportive atmosphere.”
Camp Maple Leaf is a structured summer camp program that lasts 7 weeks in June and July. The camp is staffed at a 4 to 1 staff ratio or a 1 to 1 staff ratio as needed to support the campers. CML is organized and ran by the KSRA full time Therapeutic Recreation Program Coordinator who has a degree in the field of Therapeutic Recreation and is certified as a CTRS, Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist. Both of these are important when developing the camp to implement goals for the campers to work on while in attendance.
KSRA works with some of the smaller local school districts who are not able to financially sustain a summer program, commonly known as ESY, Extended School Year. Often Special Education Students whom, with a 3-month break from a structured learning program would lose what was gained throughout the year, KSRA can provide that structure in Camp. For the school district’s that send campers to the program, they also provide transportation and a teacher as a consultant should any questions or needs arise. KSRA staff would have a conversation with the school districts prior to the start of camp to learn about the students attending and what goals can be implemented into camp. Parents of the campers have also sent their IEP, Individual Education Plan, to KSRA staff to read and pull the goals that would fit into camp.
“The campers always loving putting on this show for their families and friends. They practice all week. Some campers show off individual talents, while others work with a friend on a performance and our younger campers often sing songs as a group. And the show always ends with the whole camp, staff included, singing the Camp Maple Leaf song. The smile on the campers faces makes it all worth it! And this year, Catering by Diann from Tom & Jerry’s in Sycamore is graciously donating burger lunches to all the campers and their families after the performance. I appreciate that our community is so giving to KSRA and especially Camp Maple Leaf!” Schaefer concluded.
For more information about Kishwaukee Special Recreation (KSRA), Camp Maple Leaf or any of the year-round programing offered, please visit kishsra.org or call (779) 777-7285.
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