To Our Oak Hill Camps and Recreation Community,
It’s been a little while since we checked in with you. Last we wrote, we shared some heavy news regarding our programming in Summer 2023. As you may know, we were not able to open for traditional residential camp at Camp Hemlocks last summer due to a lack of available staff. This was a difficult reality to cope with. We shared with you then that it was our hope and intention to bring camp back for Summer 2024.
A lot has happened over the past year. First, the Hemlocks Center became the proud recipient of a federal grant to upgrade our beloved center and expand its mission. The Hemlocks Center will be undergoing construction in an effort to modernize the amenities and provide services to more individuals with disabilities. We will be closed through Summer 2024 as we complete these much-needed renovations.
Second, we are pleased to welcome two new members of our team!
Taylor Bernardo has joined us as our Camp Director. She can be reached Taylor.Bernardo@oakhillct.org.
Hannah Fiducia has also joined us as Assistant Camp Manager. She can be reached at Hannah.Fiducia@oakhillct.org.
Finally, in this competitive job market, it remains difficult to recruit the necessary staff to ensure a safe and happy camp experience for all. With that in mind, we are pleased to announce that we will be moving forward with residential camp at Camp Harkness in Waterford this summer! Due to limited staffing, we will only be accepting applicants from within our Oak Hill Community Programs and through the Connecticut Bureau of Rehabilitation Services (BRS) Level Up program.
We realize this programming adjustment might be frustrating and confusing to many of our long-time campers and their families. Please know that our goal is to open the camp experience up to the public again soon. We are optimistic that the renovations at Camp Hemlocks will provide for an inclusive, supportive environment for all individuals with disabilities for many years to come. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact me at Nicole.Feeney@oakhillct.org.
Easterseals of Oak Hill Camp Hemlocks:
Easterseals of Oak Hill Camp Hemlocks is an accessible, residential summer camp for youth and adults with physical, sensory, intellectual, and developmental disabilities in the scenic woods of Central Connecticut. Camp Hemlocks offers a traditional camping experience for campers as young as eight and there is no aging out, allowing campers to attend into adulthood. Activities include swimming in our indoor heated pool, boating and fishing on our 22-acre pond, arts and crafts, nature, archery, health and fitness, and climbing our challenge tower. Camp Hemlocks programming is individually adapted to the needs of each camper to provide them the most enjoyable and successful camp experience possible.
The benefits of summer camp extend beyond the exhilarating activities, campfires, and friendship bracelets. Camp is a place to develop confidence and where social skills flourish. Camp promotes independence. Most importantly, camp is fun! Campers often say that they feel as if they are a part of a family while they are with us. They feel accepted and wanted with people who understand them. Camp Hemlocks is a place where each camper has the opportunity to socialize with old friends and make new ones.
At Camp Hemlocks we support the use of assistive technology, adaptive equipment, and creativity to support the needs of each individual camper. We offer the appropriate assistance needed for all campers around mobility, participation in the program, and activities of daily living. New activities and customized support encourages campers to try new things and allows even the most seasoned camper an exciting challenge!
Philosophy and Goals:
People with disabilities have a right to the same opportunities offered to others- to have fun, to try new activities, and to make new friends- in a safe, friendly, and supportive environment.
Easterseals of Oak Hill Camp Hemlocks provides opportunities for people with disabilities to develop their potential, expand their abilities, and explore their interests.
We are the proud affiliate of Easterseals. For 100 years, Easterseals has served as an indispensable resource for individuals with disabilities, veterans, seniors and their families. Easterseals affiliates in communities nationwide serve 1.5M people through high-quality programs including autism services, early intervention, workforce development, adult day care and more.