08/05/07 — Kidz Dayz festival helps camp

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Kidz Dayz festival helps camp

By Anessa Myers
Published in News on August 5, 2007 2:00 AM

The sun was beaming. The water in the dunking booth was cold. But, the children were happy, and the cause was a great one.

Full of laughter and hope, the day was a fundraiser to raise money for an educational summer camp for children with special needs.

The Kidz Dayz fundraiser was held at Edgewood Developmental School on Saturday, and the fun was four hours long.

Games, music and food were part of the festivities, and everyone seemed to enjoy themselves, despite the heat.

But the weather was nothing compared to what the children in the summer camp go through every day.

Children with autism and developmental delays can easily forget behavioral skills and educational knowledge that they learn throughout the school year, and the summer camp helps to prevent that.

"The camp is intended to keep these children in a learning situation so they don't lose skills in the summer that they learned in school," said Judy Carpenter with Thera-Peds, a sponsor of the camp and a fundraiser.

The children work on an individual education plan to ensure their success.

"Each child receives exactly what they need to maintain their skills, and maybe we can even help to advance them," said Mrs. Carpenter.

Kidz Dayz provides structure, routine and activities that foster academics, social interaction and therapeutic interventions along with traditional summer day camp activities, according to their Web site.

The summer camp is taught by qualified special education teachers and is assisted by volunteers from around the community.

Zac Milne has volunteered for this year's camp and fundraiser after working with autistic children for 21/2 years.

"I was presented with the opportunity at the base," said Milne, who is in the Air Force and stationed at Seymour Johnson, "and I thought it was a great thing."

This is the first year that the camp is having a fundraiser to raise money for the camp, and Ashley Langley, director of the camp, and Dixie Mower, fundraising advisor on the camp's board of directors, were expecting the fundraiser to raise $2,000.

The summer camp itself is in its seventh year of operation with 31 children currently participating.

Helping children ages 3 to 16, the camp runs between six to nine weeks throughout the summer, and the children attend Monday through Thursday for half days.

The camp not only helps the children succeed. It also helps the parents.

"It's really difficult for parents to find day care for their children with special needs because many day cares do not have people who are qualified to work with their needs," said Mrs. Carpenter.

The camp and fundraiser is sponsored by the United Way, Thera-Peds, Crossroads Support Services Inc., CVS Pharmacy and the Seymour Johnson Air Force Base as well as other area organizations.

"We never turn down money or volunteers," said Mrs. Carpenter. "We are a tax-exempt organization so all donations are tax-deductible."

Donations can be sent to Thera-Peds located at 600 N. Madison Ave., Goldsboro, NC 27530.