Children with Multiple Severe Disabilities Experience the Sun, Sand and Sea at YMCA Day Camp

Organised by the YMCA of Singapore and supported by the Chua Foundation, the camp aimed to expose these children to new experiences they would otherwise never have.

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A participant relaxing in a Mobi-Chair in the sea, accompanied by YMCA volunteers and a trainer from Water-Venture Pasir Ris.

 14 children with Multiple Severe Disabilities from AWWA school had a full day of exciting new experiences including hopping onto a Mobi-Chair (a floating beach wheelchair) to play in the sea and participating in a campfire, during the second YMCA Y Camp Challenge Day Camp, held at Water-Venture Pasir Ris on 25 May.

The camp, made possible by the generous support of the Chua Foundation, aimed to expose the children to experiences they would otherwise never have and provide an opportunity for them to bond with their parents.

For some of the 14 students from AWWA school, it was the first time they felt the waves lapping at their feet and experienced the sights and sounds of the sea.

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Mdm Ruhani (left) and her son (right) taking a break together after an afternoon of fun in the sea.

“My son likes the water. He goes for hydrotherapy (in school), but this is the first time he has gone to the sea! He is very happy. He enjoyed himself!” said Mdm Ruhani, who accompanied her son for the camp.

She shares, “Sometimes, I would bring him out around our (home) area, but I seldom bring him out this far away from home. The distance… the transportation… it is quite difficult. I would do this more often if I had assistance. Thankfully, today we have the help of volunteers”.

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Children with Multiple Severe Disabilities try out kayaking for the first time during the day camp.

About 34 YMCA volunteers were on hand to befriend the children and facilitate the camp activities, which included sensory play with sand, outdoor cooking and kayaking.

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YMCA volunteer Cindy Tan (left) with a participant at the sensory play station during the camp.

YMCA volunteer Cindy Tan said that volunteering at this day camp has made her more comfortable interacting with persons with Multiple Severe Disabilities, and that watching them enjoying the activities was the highlight of her experience.

As night fell, the children’s excitement grew in anticipation of the campfire segment of the camp.

Guests of Honour William Chua, Member for Chua Foundation and Trish Chang, Program Manager for Chua Foundation, kicked off the segment by lighting the campfire.

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Chua Foundation Program Manager Trish Chang lights the campfire, signalling the start of the evening’s festivities.

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William Chua (left) Member for Chua Foundation, receives a token of appreciation made by the volunteers and children who participated in the day camp from Steve Loh, General Secretary & CEO of the YMCA of Singapore.

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The children and their families then came together to participate in camp cheers led by YMCA volunteers as the campfire crackled nearby. After several rounds of energetic cheering and grooving to music, it was time for the participants to return home.

It may have been just one day, but it was an extraordinary one for the children, parents and their teachers.

“This camp is very good for them because they can experience the water themselves. Whenever they come out of the water, they would be smiling, and they [give off] this sense of happiness,” said Ms Rosemawati, one of the accompanying AWWA School teachers.

“This sort of camp benefits the parents as well. It is a bonding time. Most of the parents are very happy to come here. It was supposed to be one caregiver to one student, but I think [for some participants] the whole family is here! They want to watch how we conduct this camp! It was very good.”

“A very big thank you to the Chua Foundation and the YMCA team for giving us the chance to participate in this camp!”

Keen to volunteer with the YMCA? Email us at volunteer@ymca.org.sg !

 

Contributed by: Han Wei Chou