Camp counselor Tayler Tadrick is shouting and cheering on summer campers as they run between orange cones while straddling inflatable whales. Her face cannot contain her smile, and her arms become an extension of her joy, giving high-fives as the competitors wiggle their way to the finish line.
“Just being around them, they really brighten my day,” says Ms. Tadrick, 23, of Wexford, of the campers at Teen Camp Woodlands, a summer camp for teenagers with disabilities.
The 32-acre fully accessible camp in Marshall allows people with a wide range of disabilities the full summer camp experience, with an adapted zip line, pool, and campfires. An overnight in tents adapted with special lifts for those who need help getting up and down, adapted archery ranges and a variety of other activities fill their experiences.
Ms. Tadrick’s time at the camp led her to realize she wanted to pursue a career that allows individuals with disabilities to play sports. “It’s just that ‘a-ha’ moment when they say they can’t and they do. It makes my heart melt.”
Read more about Teen Camp Woodlands on Stephanie Strasburg‘s online feature That ‘a-ha’ moment: Summer for all at Teen Camp Woodlands