Special needs campers fly high on new zipline

Special needs campers fly high on new zipline
A universally accessible zipline is debuting this summer at Bradford Woods in Martinsville, home of  CHAMP Camp. The special zipline will allow kids with varying levels of independence, including those in wheel chairs, to fly high between the trees.

Campers at CHAMP Camp, which is happening now, got a taste of the new feature.

"At CHAMP Camp we are a can-do camp, and we listen to our kids throughout the years, and hear what they want to be able to do. And you know, this is just something that five to ten years ago we never thought we'd be able to do, either. But we just listen to the kids, hearing their desires and their heart in terms of what they want to be able to experience what other people are able to experience as well. We said, you know what this is something we can do. And we put our brains together and figured out a way to get this done for them," said Jennifer Kobylarz, executive director, CHAMP Camp.

Each summer, around 250 kids with disabilities come to CHAMP Camp to have fun and increase their independence. The children are often on ventilators or require other medical equipment.

The "universal" theme means all kids get the chance to ride 375 feet through the trees, including Ryan Woolard, who had a tracheostomy.

"I can fly. It's fast. Best thing ever!" he said.

What was once impossible is now a reality thanks to technology. Children like Ryan, who rely on ventilators or other medical equipment that might typically impede activities, are now getting the chance to experience a taste of independence and freedom of movement.

The students spend a week of overnight camping with a focus on fun.

"We go fishing throughout the week, we climb on the alpine tower. We have creative arts. Just all those normal camping opportunities. Swimming, even," said Kobylarz.

Like all champions, they even have a cheering squad standing by. And now all of them can fly.

Learn more about CHAMP Camp here.