Camp Exceptional teaches kids to see past differences

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MILWAUKIE, Ore. (KOIN) — While there are plenty of summer camps for parents to choose for their kids, one camp in Milwaukie helps kids learn more than just a sport or campfire song.

Camp Exceptional helps teach kids how to see past differences in others and find common ground.

Will Surh, a camp participant, said, “I have autism and that can be tough.”

The camp recently received a visit from Clackamas Fire to help them cool down as they enjoyed various activities at La Salle High School.

Those with disabilities and those without are teamed up in sports challenges.

Another camp participant, Elyjah McFarland said, “My cousin has a disability, I have a disability, a bunch of people here have disabilities. And the cool thing is here, it’s not like, ‘Oh he has a disability, he can’t do these.’ Here, it’s ‘Oh, he has a disability, this is going to be great, this is going to be a great experience for him.’ Here, the people who don’t have disabilities can help those that do.”

Camp Exceptional celebrates and encourages kids to respect each other and understand one another.

Todd Jacobs is the co-director of the camp.

He said, “You guys all enjoy the same activities. The disabilities sort of disappear.”

At this camp, kids don’t focus on their disabilities or others’, instead they’re focused on making new friends and having a memorable summer.

Zach Kramer, who attends the camp, said, “It’s really a highlight of my summer.”

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