A camp of care

Finding safe, enriching, and affordable summer camp for typical children is often a challenge for parents. But for children with complex physical, behavioral, and intellectual needs, that search is even more difficult. At Franciscan Children’s in Brighton, several weeks of summer camps are offered so that children and families feel supported year round. “Just because a child can’t stand independently doesn’t mean they shouldn’t get to hit a baseball,” says Franciscan CEO John D. Nash. “We’re about focusing on possibilities, not the child’s limitations.”--By Suzanne Kreiter
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A visually impaired camper and staff member parade around the grounds as part of a special Olympic-themed summer camp session “We have high expectations for the children we serve. We want them to do everything that’s possible for them,” says Bonnie Paulino, program director of the Kennedy Day School. (Suzanne Kreiter/Globe staff)
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During music therapy, 5-year-old Amaya Herrin-Brittain of Cambridge rests her head on the lap of Lisa Rozenas. Amaya, who has Rett Syndrome, spent time in the session alternating between playing the tambourine and resting her head on her counselor. “She’s a sweetheart, and I consider it an honor to work with her and children like her,” says Rozenas. (Suzanne Kreiter/Globe staff)
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Five-year-old JD Michaud of Sudbury is recovering from hip surgery, and, with the help of Jason Peltier, he got his turn at bat. Says Peltier, who also carried JD around the bases, “It’s good to get him involved in the game, and let him be just like everyone else. Sometimes I don’t think I go fast enough for him.” (Suzanne Kreiter/Globe staff)
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At the end of the day, camper Sylvia Snider, 5, of Belmont, snuggles up next to the camp counselors. (Suzanne Kreiter/Globe staff)
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Azariah Browne, 5, of Cambridge, visits the nurse, Peggy Smith. During some of the camp weeks, there are two nurses on staff to assist with the children’s medical needs. (Suzanne Kreiter/Globe staff)
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Kevin Rowe of Byfield enjoys the music with staffer Meaghan Melly during music therapy class. Music therapist Lyle Shaw got the children swaying and smiling to meaningful lyrics of the Bruno Mars song: “…there’s not a thing that I would change, because you’re amazing just the way you are.” (Suzanne Kreiter/Globe staff)
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Teaching assistant Amy Madeira helps Julia Carey, 21, of Auburn, pass the Olympic torch through the hallways during a special Olympic-themed summer camp session. (Suzanne Kreiter/Globe staff)
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Heather Cassidy, 17, of Waltham, laughs as she dances during the Olympic week camp celebration. (Suzanne Kreiter/Globe staff)
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Five-year-old JD Michaud of Sudbury gets some gentle encouragement as he makes his way to the end-of-the-day award ceremony. “He was going to sit all summer, sitting at home doing nothing,” says his father, Doug Michaud. “He’s had so much fun meeting the kids and everyone supporting him.” (Suzanne Kreiter/Globe staff)
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Teacher Julia Teran Pulford dances with campers in the auditorium. (Suzanne Kreiter/Globe staff)
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Teacher Julia Teran Pulford and student Julia Carey, 21, of Auburn, participate in the Olympic-themed events. “Our students are just like Olympians. They overcome challenges to accomplish their very best,”says Vanessa Saravia, recreation coordinator. (Suzanne Kreiter/Globe staff)
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Christopher Carvalho of Shrewsbury gets help from Mary Willis with decorating his T-shirt in arts and crafts class. During the activity, children are encouraged to express their preferences, communicating to their teachers which colors they want and where. (Suzanne Kreiter/Globe staff)
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Teachers encourage Julia Carey, 21, of Auburn, as she prepares to play a game of ring toss. (Suzanne Kreiter/Globe staff)
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Two weeks of the summer session were the Adaptive Sports Program, where kids played baseball and rode bikes with the help of the staff. Madeline Carroll, 9, of Winthrop, takes a swing at the ball. (Suzanne Kreiter/Globe staff)
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Gus Marstall, 4, of Cambridge rests with one of his counselors. (Suzanne Kreiter/Globe staff)
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Madeline Carroll, 9, of Winthrop, cools off after a game of baseball. (Suzanne Kreiter/Globe staff)
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Gus Marstall, 4, gets help with his stance from a teacher. (Suzanne Kreiter/Globe staff)
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JD Michaud, who answers to the name of “Tarzan” at camp, couldn’t hide his delight when he received a gold medal. (Suzanne Kreiter/Globe staff)
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Corina Aaronson (left) and Jason Peltier help a camper ride her bike around a ring behind the school. (Suzanne Kreiter/Globe staff)
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A camper dances in the light and shadows in the auditorium. (Suzanne Kreiter/Globe staff)
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