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At Arc Human Services, Camp Laughalot Delivers Smiles
By Nancy Kennedy

Someone once said that a laugh is a smile that bursts. If that is true, then there will be a lot of smiles bursting this summer in Washington County at the annual camp offered by Arc Human Services. Welcome to Camp Laughalot, a popular inclusive day camp for children and adults with developmental, intellectual and physical disabilities, and mental illness. The camp takes place twice each year; there is a seven-week summer camp plus a one-week winter camp, during school break between Christmas and New Year’s Day. Participants must be at least five years old, and there is no upper age limit.

Quimber Nutter, Activities Coordinator for Arc Human Services, manages Camp Laughalot, which consists of a wide variety of structured, supervised activities: arts and crafts, music, games, swimming, dances, parties and field trips. “The activities provide fun, socialization, and education,” she explains. “The camp helps the participants develop and maintain their life skills and social skills, which can be lost over the summer when they are out of school. Outings are especially popular; we go to all the museums, the Pittsburgh Zoo, the Aviary and other fun places. We also have presenters who come to the camp each week; we have a woman from the Aviary who always brings along a bird.”

Going to camp is a traditional American experience that provides fun along with valuable opportunities to learn new things and make friends. According to Quimber Nutter, everyone should have the chance to experience camp. “Camp is an enriching experience for anyone. A successful camp experience builds self-esteem and confidence. We have a low staff: participant ratio of one to three, so each person gets a lot of attention and time.”

Arc Human Services provides innovative programs and services to 500 individuals across eight Western Pennsylvania counties. With a person-centered philosophy, the 700-member staff assists clients to find meaningful work, develop relationships at home, at work and in the community, and find fulfillment, enjoyment and satisfaction in their lives. At Arc Human Services, everyone is recognized as unique and the staff strives to meet individual needs and provide support and advocacy to enable clients to learn, grow and achieve their goals.

Camp Laughalot is in its nineteenth year of operation and is attended by 60 or 70 participants, with a staff of 25. The camp takes place at the Vernon C. Neal Sportsplex, an indoor recreation center in Washington PA, Monday through Friday from 8:30 am to 2:30 pm. The 2018 summer camp begins June 18 and ends on August 3, with an agency-wide carnival which the public can attend.

The registration fee is $100 per week, which covers all activities, the swimming pool, and outings plus lunch. There is some financial assistance available. To register for Camp Laughalot, go to www.aadvantageinc.org/camp-laughalot.html.  To contact Quimber Nutter, call 724 222-6960 ext. 225, or email her at nutter.quimber-kay@aadvantageinc.org.

For more information about Arc Human Services, visit www.aadvantageinc.org

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