When you think of a camping trip in the Mississippi summer, most people automatically think hot, hot and hot.
For a group of young leaders with and without disabilities, heat was not an issue for their summer camping trip since they had an indoor camp-out combined with a wet weekend of fun. The one-night camping event, held last month, was hosted by the TRIAD Service AmeriCorps members and the Technology Learning Center, both a part of the Institute for Disability Studies on The University of Southern Mississippi’s Gulf Park campus in Long Beach.
“The TRIAD service members have put an emphasis on increasing recreational opportunities for people with disabilities,” notes TRIAD coordinator Dr. Jerry R. Alliston. “They want youth with disabilities to have fun activities and choices throughout the year such as this camping trip.”
The one-night inclusive camping trip began on a Friday and ended the next day for the 17 future leaders attending. Rain affected some of the outdoor activities, thus kayaking and tennis were limited and basketball was not possible. However, the campers were able to participate in games, pottery, crafts, archery, and ping pong through collaboration with TLC staff and the University of South Alabama undergraduate therapeutic recreation students.
Campers had the option to sleep in the TLC building with air conditioning or rough it outside on the campus grounds — all campers chose to sleep indoors. This camping trip, like the majority of TRIAD activities, was offered at no cost for those attending on a first-come, first-serve basis.
The camp was deemed a success based upon the initial feedback from campers and students at the end of camp meeting. Lots of positive feedback was received along with some constructive criticism on how to take the camp to the next level.
“This camp rocked and I can’t wait to do it again,” said TRIAD member Taylor Carley. In fact, Taylor gave the ultimate compliment in requesting to have another indoor camping trip the next month.
The TRIAD program was just funded for another year and plans are already underway to include this event as part of the 2013 activities.
TRIAD, which stands for “training, resources and information for the advancement of disability service,” is a national service program focused on increasing the number of youth with disabilities who transition into adulthood. Twenty TRIAD Service AmeriCorps members, youth and young adults with and without disabilities, are included in this program. These members participate in a variety of activities including health education training, disability etiquette skits, job training activities, mentoring and recreational events like this camping trip.
TRIAD is a program of the Institute for Disability Studies at The University of Southern Mississippi and is funded through the Mississippi Commission for Volunteer Service. TRIAD complements the long-standing history of IDS to provide quality services for all people with disabilities including youth and young adults.
For more information about Project TRIAD and other IDS projects, please call 1.601.266.5163 or 1.888.671.0051 or visit the Institute’s Web site at www.usm.edu/ids.