Fine Feathered Friends and Tail-waggers Bring Comfort and Great Delight to Memorial Hospital’s Camp Sensation Youngsters

Fine Feathered Friends and Tail-waggers Bring Comfort and Great Delight to Memorial Hospital’s Camp Sensation Youngsters

Memorial Hospital’s Camp Sensation youngsters look on with faces adorned with fascination. Pictured, left to right, Michaela Butcher, Melissa Defelice and Vonnie Young holding Young’s Funny Farm therapy duck, Daffy. – Photo by Patty Dawsey

Promoting the special bond of improving human health through animal assisted therapy, provided by Young’s Funny Farm, was an ideal blend of activity to kick-off Memorial Hospital’s fifth annual Camp Sensation, located at the Ulster Elementary School, Ulster, last week.

Camp Sensation offers a variety of creative activities that foster abilities in motor development, language, socialization and play skills, all disguised as good old fashioned fun for children with special needs and their siblings.

A multi-disciplinary team of occupational, physical and speech-language therapists help the campers gain an optimal experience from each day’s activities. Campers, waiting with great anticipation as if a drum roll was playing, smiled and squealed with delight as Neil and Vonnie Young of Young’s Funny Farm unveiled the special guests of the day. By far, not your typical guests.

“I would like to introduce to you, Daffy, our therapy duck,” stated Neil Young. A youngster’s hand reached out with slight hesitation to gently greet his new-found, fine-feathered friend. The soft caress of the duck’s feathers brought a wide, relaxed grin to his face followed by much conversation.

Fine Feathered Friends and Tail-waggers Bring Comfort and Great Delight to Memorial Hospital’s Camp Sensation Youngsters

Daniel Spencer enjoys a relaxed, gentle hug with Timmy, a trained therapy dog, while volunteer Amber Landes reaches out to pet the Young’s Funny Farm animal therapy team member. – Photo by Patty Dawsey

Accompanying Daffy was Timmy, a Springer-lab mix therapy dog who served as a New York City Ground Zero hero by working closely with city police personnel. “As Timmy started working in public, as a service animal and attending meetings with Neil, he showed a natural ability to bring joy to people,” explained Mrs. Young.

Bringing smiles and joy with a special brand of love using rescued and adopted animals who are trained as therapy animals is the overall mission of Young’s Funny Farm located in Berwick, PA

Memorial Hospital’s Camp Sensation, innovative and unique in design and purpose, is created for children with special needs and their siblings. All activities are set up so that all children, regardless of disability, can participate.

“Camp Sensation offers a very unique opportunity for children with special needs to enjoy typical summer camp activities that they might not otherwise have the chance to experience,” said Jill Blemle, Occupational Therapist and camp coordinator.

“For example, we offer a water slide. For some of the children, this is the first time they have ever been able to enjoy a water slide. The delight on their faces is extraordinary. That’s why we offer this camp,” she said.

Regular rotations to different stations throughout the day include art and craft activities, sports, bowling, sensorimotor, water play, language, social interaction, bounce houses and music.

Camp Sensation has more than 50 campers, more than 50 volunteers along with professional staff involved in this year’s camp.

For additional information regarding Memorial Hospital’s Camp Sensation or specialized therapy for children, call Memorial Hospital’s Outpatient Therapy Clinic at 268-2209, or visit memorialhospital.org.

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