DARKE COUNTY — Nature and science activities were enjoyed by 23 K-9th-graders who attended the county’s first Camp LINK at Chenoweth Trails on Monday.
Sponsored by the Darke County Education Service Center, Camp LINK’s purpose was to “link” the county’s special needs students together – to provide Learning and leadership experiences with Inclusive but individual activities in a Nurturing and Kind environment.
Participating schools included Mississinawa Valley, Franklin Monroe, Greenville, Ansonia, Arcanum, Bradford, and Tri-Village.
Teachers from across the county volunteered to help guide the group activities, which included painting and “hiding” rocks for hikers to find along the paths at Chenoweth Trails, an explosive paint activity, gross motor skills activities, and making bird feeders to hang along the nature trails.
Also volunteering at Camp LINK was Kenna Quigney, who will be a seventh-grader at Arcanum in the fall.
“My mom (Kristina Quigney) asked me if I wanted to to volunteer,” Quigney said of her mother who teaches a MD class at Arcanum. “I wanted to help.”
Soon-to-be FM fifth-grader Henry Turner said he wanted to attend Camp LINK “because I thought it would be fun.”
Turner, along with Hunter Gaines, a Bradford fourth-grader and Evan Addis, a FM fourth-grader teamed up to paint rocks for the hiking trails.
Addis said one reason for attending the county’s first-ever Camp LINK was to improve his science skills. “I’m struggling with science,” he explained, adding this wasn’t the first time he had painted rocks.
Also joining in on the Camp LINK fun were therapy dogs Joey and Grace.
“They love children and used to visit with the MD classrooms,” in the county, said owner/trainer Kelly Fourman, office manager at the Education Service Center.
Camp LINK, said Darke County ESC’s pupil service director Lisa Giuffre, was an idea presented by Bill Nellis, ESC Multiple Disabilities supervisor, who works with MD teachers across the county.
“He presented it to the MD teachers and they liked the idea,” Giuffre said.
Students attending camp have been identified by their school districts as having a disability. The camp was open to students with cognitive and developmental needs.