Date of Award
Bachelor of Science (BS)
At the culmination of the highly successful first annual Bridgerland Special Olympics, the author decided that more recreational activities needed to be provided for the exceptional (handicapped) children of this area. Academic and vocational programs were rapidly increasing but little was being done to help these exceptional children develop their social and recreational skills. Besides, college students found interaction with the children from the Exceptional Child Center and the Benson Instructional Workshop to be so educational and rewarding that they wanted to plan other recreational activities. Consequently, interested students met in May 1973 to plan a summer camp for these exceptional children.
After completing some preliminary research, White (1968), Davis, et al. (1968), and Student Life (1968), it was found that USU had sponsored such a camp in 1968. The camp (White, 1968), was directed by Ernest Davis, physical education instructor for the handicapped in St. Paul, Minnesota; Dr. Devoe Rickert, USU Special Education professor; and Lois Downs, USU Health Education and Recreation professor. Obviously, this nine day camp for thirteen "mentally retarded" youth (Davis, et al., 1968), was conducted by professionals, but this did not deter our student volunteers. They were convinced that the 1973 Summer Camp could be just as educational and enjoyable as the camp held five years previously.
The 1973 Summer Camp was organized to meet the following objectives:
1. For the exceptional child:
a. to build a positive self image
b. to gain confidence and self mastery
c. to develop physical coordination
d. to encourage independence
e. to teach safety and conservation
f. to provide an opportunity to have fun
2. For the student volunteer:
a. to provide an occasion to work with exceptional children outside of the formal classroom
b. to allow students an opportunity to utilize behavior modification techniques and skills in diverse settings
c. to provide an opportunity to have fun with exceptional children
These objectives were selected because according to the Joseph Kennedy Foundation (n/d, p. 1) "recent scientific research has shown that physical activities... are a major means of reaching the retarded." Through recreation, they can find success, build a positive self image, gain confidence and self mastery besides developing physically. As exceptional children improve their performance in recreational activities, they will also improve their performance "in the classroom, at home, and eventually on the job." Joseph Kennedy Foundation (n/d, p. 1). Apparently, a transfer of knowledge and skills take place--what is learned through recreation helps classroom education.
It was with these objectives in mind that a group of undergraduate students attempted to plan and conduct "Summer Camp 1973."
Erni, Christine Elizabeth, "Summer Camp 1973: Recreation, an Approach to Behavior Modification" (1974). Undergraduate Honors Capstone Projects. 184.
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