NORMAN — The second year of Camp ClapHans at the J.D. McCarty Center has officially kicked off, already checking in their second group of campers Sunday, with plenty of summer activities scheduled.
Camp ClapHans is a residential summer camp for children with disabilities ages 8 to 18 and is part of an outreach project of the J.D. McCarty Center for children with developmental disabilities.
Public information manager Sharla Bardin said it gives kids the chance to experience summer camp like other kids their age. This year’s theme is the “Wild West” and kids will get the opportunity to make cowboy hats and enjoy activities with representatives from the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum.
Some of the activities the museum representatives provide include working with a lasso, meeting cowboys and playing a game with cowboy boots, said camp director Kyle Cottrell.
Yearly activities include archery, arts and crafts, canoeing, fishing, horseback riding, swimming and various water games. The grand finale includes taking the children on a field trip to Andy Alligator’s.
Some of the children who have physical disabilities especially enjoy the water slide. Cottrell said since it takes a lot of people to transfer a child in a wheel chair up to the top of the water slide, it’s a first-time experience for many of them.
Ginny Webb, a returning camper from Lexington, said the water park was her favorite thing. She was also able to go horseback riding for the first time last year.
There’s a lot of other first-time experiences the campers get to enjoy, which is what Cottrell said has been the coolest thing for him that has happened.
“It’s my first summer and it’s already been awesome,” he said.
The staff at Camp ClapHans is constantly making changes and adapting to the needs for each camper to make sure they get to participate in all of the activities.