MADISON – Tucked away in the farm fields just west of Madison, a non-profit held a day camp for children with special needs.
Camp Willow aims to help children with mental, physical and developmental disabilities through the use of activities such as theatre and arts and crafts. Camp Willow President and Founder Sydney Watson said the goal is to help the kids create connections and to inspire them.
“They can be around horses and art and theatre and things they may have never been exposed to before to learn those things,” she said. “Hopefully they’ll fall in love with those new activities, see them as therapeutic and continue with them through life.”
Watson founded Camp Willow in 2018. After studying theatre in college and pursuing acting in Los Angeles as well as earning a degree in Psychology, Watson returned to her hometown of Norfolk and combined her passions in order to help others. Now, all of the work her and the Camp Willow staff have put in has paid off.
“It’s going amazing,” Watson said. “The kids are having fun, they’re smiling, they’re interacting and they’re loving the animals and everything going on. It’s incredible and all we could have wished for.”
The camp may only last a day, but theatre director Rock Dubois said he hopes the memories last a lot longer.
“I really hope that by working with the kids today that I can help them build their confidence and they’ll take that into life,” Dubois said.
Watson said Camp Willow does all of this to live up to their motto.
“Abilities outweigh disabilities,” she said. “That’s the saying we like to live by.”
For information about future events, visit campwillow.org.