Town expands special needs summer camp

Camp R.I.S.E. (Recreation Integrated into Social Experiences)



Registration is currently open for Camp RISE (Recreation Integrated into Social Experiences), a Southington Recreation Department summer program. The camp provides children with physical, intellectual, developmental or other health impairments the opportunity to increase their social, cognitive, gross and fine motor skills in a safe, supportive environment.

Last year, the Camp RISE inaugural summer proved to be a success, so officials have extended what was a two-week session into a whole month.

“We had great feedback from the parents,” said recreation director Dave Lapreay.

In fact, the program was spearheaded by Southington parents who wanted an interactive program for their children. Lapreay said that after working with parents who sought out the camp, they were able to get it off the ground last year.

While the 2016 program was only for students in grades 6 to 12, Lapreay said the additional session this summer will be for grades 2 to 5. Campers will participate in daily activities including, but not limited to, games, sports, arts and crafts, and nature.

“The program was a big hit last year with the children in attendance,” camp director Desirée Daigle said.

Nineteen middle and high school aged students participated in Camp RISE’s first summer, and officials expect that number to increase.

Most of the campers are bussed straight from their extended school year (ESY) classes at either Hatton Elementary or Southington High School to South End Elementary School where RISE takes place. The afternoon camp runs from 12:15 p.m. to 3:15 p.m. during the session days. If a student is not coming from an ESY location, transportation will not be provided.

The program is led by Daigle, along with a group of professional adult counselors, many of which are paraprofessionals in the Southington school district. There is also a nurse on site at all times.

Staff members promote wellness and independent living skills for their campers, while building self-esteem, confidence, and a connection to their community.

“Many middle school and high school age peers volunteered their time to participate and interact with campers,” Daigle said about last year’s camp.

Lapreay said that community members also got involved with Camp RISE.

“Last year, local civic groups, business, and organizations donated to the program,” he said. “To see community groups and individuals help with this program is fantastic.”

For more information or to register your child, visit or call (860) 276-6219.  Completed registration forms including medical forms will be accepted through June 16.

The elementary session (Wednesday and Thursday, July 5 and 6 and Monday through Thursday July 10-13) costs $90 per child. The middle and high school session (Monday through Thursday, July 17-20 and July 24-27) is $120 per child.

A maximum of 25 campers will be accepted into each session and registration will be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis.

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