SpecialFriends4Stanwood, WA - Everywhere you look kids are enjoying summer camp. A young man is scaling a rock wall. A group of girls are giggling in the pool. Others are enjoying a ride down a leaf-covered trail. Just what you would expect? Not really. If you look closer you’ll see that the young man on the rock wall has cerebral palsy. The girls? Down syndrome. And the trail riders? Pervasive developmental delays.

“The community of people with special needs has the same desire as everyone else to get out and experience the unique environment camping has to offer,” says Laurie Fertello, Youth Ministries Director at Warm Beach Camp. Located one hour north of Seattle, the Christian camp and conference center is hosting a Special Friends Overnight Camp July 5-8. “The reason we’re doing this is really quite simple. There are over 100,000 people with special needs in the North Puget Sound area and very few programs, and even fewer camping programs, available to accommodate the interests and needs of the special needs community.”

People with developmental disabilities age 15 through 50 will be given the chance to be participants, not observers, in activities such as swimming, mini golf, trail rides, challenge course, crafts, skits and more.