Deaf Camps, Inc., a Deaf and American Sign Language camp serving both deaf and hearing children, is held the first full week in August at Manidokan Outdoor Ministry Center in Knoxville, Maryland. This year’s camp for children aged seven through 19 will be held July 28th-August 2nd, 2019.
During camp sessions, campers participate in a variety of activities such as swimming, hiking, arts and crafts, and more. All these activities take place in a Christian setting in which campers learn about God’s love through daily religious education lessons and in chapel. (It should be noted that campers need not be Christian to attend camp as alternate activities can be provided upon family request.)
Deaf Camps, Inc. utilizes volunteer counselors and directors to make sure camp provides an enriching experience for each child. Upon each camper’s arrival, both the camper and parent will sign-in to make sure all paperwork is in order. This is followed by a visit to a nurse who will hold any medications needed for the week-long camp. It is important that campers have permission from their doctor to attend camp. Most campers visit the camp store as Sunday and Friday are the only days the store is open to campers.
Campers are divided into the following groups: Younger Deaf, Younger ASL, Middle Deaf, Middle ASL, and “Older” that includes both deaf and hearing campers. The groups are located in different locations with the Younger Deaf and Younger ASL housed in lodges; the Middle Deaf campers housed in cabins; and the older campers housed in upper and lower shelter sites.
Each group is led by a group of volunteer adult counselors. Sometimes, in the younger groups, there are one or two 16 or 17-year-old counselors-in-training. The camp also has a professional staff that organizes all activities, cooks, and makes sure the camp runs safely and efficiently. Volunteer interpreters also are available during the week.
A typical day at camp is a very busy one! After breakfast is held in the dining hall, Bible study takes place and then it is on to morning activities. There is a break for lunch and then campers head back out for more activity. The day winds down with a group swim in the pool and a snack before campers retreating to their camp areas before dinner is served. Campers participate in one more activity and then chapel before returning to their camp areas for their nightly shower and to get ready for bed.
The cost to attend Deaf Camps, Inc. is $485. For those looking to attend next year’s camp, scholarships are available.