THE Bahamas Coalition for Disability Awareness and Services’ Camp Inclusion ’22 is underway at the Anatol Rodgers High School - providing a unique opportunity for disabled and not so disabled persons to come together.
Rosemarie Munnings, BCDAS’ director of public relations, who also serves as one of the directors of the camp, said this first ever week-long camp has been a rewarding experience so far for not just the participants, but instructors as well as they both get to learn so much from each other.
“There are students in our schools who have disabilities and we recognise that persons without disabilities are made aware of what some children go through, so we decided to put this camp on,” Munnings said.
“We are led by Kendrick Rolle, who is blind and one is wheelchair bound, Jasmine Frazer and Vincent Wallace and what we basically wanted to do is to sensitise the Bahamian public to children with disabilities in our schools and in special schools.”
On Tuesday, during the second day of the camp, the students were engaged in arts and craft. They will also participate in sporting activities on that include beep ball where the ball actually beeps and they have to listen for the sound beep.
Members of the Royal Bahamas Defence Force are also involved in the camp and will be conducting a survivor’s skills session on Saturday to help minimise the cases of drowning that is currently taking place in the country.
“We also had the nurses from the Princess Margaret Hospital come in and explain to the campers some tips to deal with any medical emergencies,” she said. “They showed their phones to communicate any problems they are going through or write it down on social media so persons can reach out and assist them.”
Georgette Pratt and Labron Minnis, two 2022 graduate of the Aaron Gilmore School, are among the more than 60 people enrolled in the camp, which has also attracted at least ten from Grand Bahama. There are at least 30 instructors, along with the RBDF officers, who are assisting the campers.
While BCDAS, according to Munnings, intend to launch a similar programme in Grand Bahama, hence the need for the persons from that island to be involved in the camp. Additionally, she said they also will be looking ways to further enhance in other islands in the near future.
Pratt, who was born blind in 2003, said although she went through multi operations, she can discern some things around here, including light and darkness. She was able to point out that she was in an open air atmosphere with the sun shinning.
“Being a part of this camp, seeing that I am a little self centered, has really helped me to reach out to persons who does not have any disabilities and make them aware of some of the things that we have to go through with our disabilities,” she said.
As a blind person, Pratt said she’s been at a disadvantage when it comes down to choosing her career part because she’s had to switch so many times after losing interest in each one. She hope that now that she’s graduated from high school, she can focus a little more on her future endeavours.
Pratt said she has enjoyed the camp so far and she’s looking forward to the rest of the sessions before they are done on Sunday.
Joshua Miller, a 16-year-old from the Beacon School in Grand Bahama, said he love to cook, especially chicken and fries and making sandwiches.
“This is as good opportunity for me to get off the island and come to Nassau to see kids that I have never seen before,” he said. “I get to interact with so many people. It’s been a lot of fun so far for me.
So far, Miller said he’s learn something new and he made some new friends. He said he hope to go back to Grand Bahama and build on this experience, but he want to start practicing soccer with his team, who is pre[paring to go to Germany in June.
“I want to be able to make that team,” said Miller, who play the striker position.
Kayne Kemp is not disabled, but the 17-year-old St John’s College graduate decided to come out and get some experience because his mother is actually disabled and he want to be able to better take care of her.
“My mother, Jasmine, had to use a wheelchair ever since I was in the eighth grade, but after a while she suffered another accident and so I have to be able to assist her,” he said. “But I came here too because I wanted to learn a lot more about people with disabilities.
“I just feel like a lot of people don’t understand what persons with disabilities go through. So this is a goods opportunity for me to learn a little more. I’ve learnt a lot dealing with my mom, but there is still so much more that I need to know.”
So far, Kemp said the camp has provided him with an opportunity to know a lot more about persons with disabilities and he’s looking forward to the completion of the camp.
With daily sessions running from 9am to 1pm, BCDAS will close out the camp on Sunday with a pining ceremony that will take place at 3pm at Stephen Dillet Primary School where all of the campers, instructors and supporters will be awarded for their participation.