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Camp Wonder Hands seeks volunteers, counselors and first-time campers

Volunteers, volunteer counselors, campers and community support are needed for Camp Wonder Hands, a six-day, five-night camp for deaf and hard-of-hearing children ages 7-15. Held at Camp Kinard, near Batesburg-Leesville, the camp is a program of Palmetto Health Children’s Hospital and is set for July 16-21.

Camp Wonder Hands is offered at no cost to campers. To serve as a volunteer or volunteer counselor, a person does not have to be deaf, hard-of-hearing or have the ability to sign. Training is provided during an orientation session held just prior to the camp.

Jena Martin and her husband, Brad, are the parents of four adopted children. “It has been a remarkable journey,” said Martin. In the span of two years, the couple adopted four children from two sibling groups. Sons Dakota, 7, and Jacob, 10, were fostered by the Martins before their adoption was finalized in May 2016. The brothers had been through four previous foster homes and much transitioning in their young lives.

Dakota was a first-time camper at Camp Wonder Hands last July. As part of the camp’s sibling program, Dakota was able to bring his big brother. Jena Martin feels it was a positive experience. “Dakota came to us at age 4 1/2 and was not yet potty trained,” said Jena. “Brad and I noticed that something more was going on. After testing, we found that he couldn’t hear.” There had been no previous recognition of Dakota’s hearing problem and no early intervention. “Dakota is just now catching up socially and we are thankful that camps like Camp Wonder Hands exist,” said Martin.

She added, “Camp was an amazing experience for both of our boys. Neither had stayed overnight away from us for that length of time and neither had attended a camp, so it was definitely a first. I am so thankful for the loving camp staff, their encouragement, support, understanding, and willingness to get our kids with special needs on their own journey to make it the best experience possible.”

Call (803) 296-KIDS (5437) for information and applications or visit http://campsite.palmettohealth.org/

The deadline for applications is April 24.

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