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Joey’s House offers free camp for kids, adults with developmental disabilities

This is Good News Sunday, a compilation of some of the most upbeat and inspiring stories published recently by the Daily Herald:

Let’s go! That’s the theme for this summer’s Camp Champion.

This program, for campers with developmental disabilities like Down syndrome, autism, and Angelman Syndrome, is offered by Joey’s House, a Lombard-based not-for-profit organization providing therapeutic programming for adolescents and adults with special needs.

Camp Champion, as well as the organization’s House Parties, are for individuals ages 12 and older. Those ages 12-17 participate in rotations including, but not limited to, sensory exploration, following recipes, crafts, scrapbooking, relay races, read-alouds and writing reflections, music therapy, and other activities that focus on building communication and motor skills.

Those 18 and older participate in the adult programming, which follows some of the same rotations as the younger group, but also has a rotation focused on completing jobs in the building and a daily community outing.

“We hope that once campers join our programming, they will remain with us as we grow. As such, we try to live true to our value of prioritizing skill development by creating slightly different options for the adult group,” said Britelle Smith of Lombard , a special-education teacher and co-founder of Joey’s House.

        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        

The goal is to allow these kids and adults to take part in traditional get-togethers they may not otherwise get to do.

For the full story, click here.

Arlington Heights water park is now a premier climbing facility



A large crowd fills the floor and watches the US Youth National Climbing Championships at First Ascent indoor climbing gym in Arlington Heights on Monday, July 25.
– John Stark | Staff Photographer

Once home to waterslides, hot tubs and a lazy river, a former indoor water park in Arlington Heights has been transformed into one of the largest climbing facilities in the suburbs, with massive steel and plywood manufactured boulders and walls topping 50 feet.

First Ascent, a recreational climbing venue five years in the making, was teeming with activity Monday morning on the launch of USA Climbing’s weeklong Youth National Championships, a competition of teens ages 13-18 vying to one day compete at the Olympics.

The event marks the informal opening of the 45,000-square-foot indoor rock climbing facility after a $4.5 million purchase and renovation of the shuttered CoCo Key Waterpark, which abruptly closed in 2009 after three years in business.

More and more climbing gyms like First Ascent have been opening nationwide — an average of about 15 to 20 a year over the last five years, said Ben Lowe, director of marketing for USA Climbing, the national governing body of the Olympic team, which competed in the international games for the first time last year.

“The sport has just exploded. And then it hit another speed with the Olympics,” Lowe said. “People are looking for something fun to do. They’re looking for something interesting to do. And something to help their physical fitness.”

The public grand opening for recreational climbing is Aug. 6.

For the full story, click here.

11 Boy Scouts earn Eagle Scout rank at Buffalo Grove ceremony


Eleven Boy Scouts from Troop 140 received their Eagle Scout rank in a recent ceremony.  They are, back row, from left: Michael Meshbach, Carson Gallagher, Eric Vondrak, Matthew McGowan, Kellen McGowan, Jonathan Abraham;  and in front, Alastair Tutty, Zachary Pipin, Daniel Wilson, Josh Tasher and Liam Thomson.

Eleven Boy Scouts from Troop 140 received their Eagle Scout rank in a recent ceremony. They are, back row, from left: Michael Meshbach, Carson Gallagher, Eric Vondrak, Matthew McGowan, Kellen McGowan, Jonathan Abraham; and in front, Alastair Tutty, Zachary Pipin, Daniel Wilson, Josh Tasher and Liam Thomson.
– Courtesy of Alicia McGowan

Congratulations to Jonathan Abraham, Carson Gallagher, Kellen McGowan, Matthew McGowan, Michael Meshboch, Zachary Pipin, Josh Tasher, Liam Thomson, Alastair Tutty, Eric Vondrak and Daniel Wilson, all Scouts from Troop 140, who received their Eagle Scout rank in a recent ceremony at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Buffalo Grove.

Of these 11 Scouts, 10 are from the same elementary school district — Kildeer Countryside District 96 — and seven have been in school together since the first grade.

Their Eagle projects, which were all completed in the past year, include constructing a wooden boardwalk, winterizing plant beds, painting a world map mural on a school blacktop, landscape trim, sanding and repainting a storage shed, creating concrete tubs for native aquatic plants , building plant propagation beds, deep cleaning and disinfecting exercise equipment, building a wooden retaining wall, creating new trail signs, collecting and spreading seeds, and building new benches.

For the full story, click here.

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