HAMDEN, Conn. (WTNH) — For the third year in a row, Quinnipiac University is hosting a summer camp with a difference.
At this camp, you start the day dancing and jumping. Not just because it is fun because it is good practice. Jumps and side to side movements are tough for people who have prosthetic legs, like 12 year-old Ryan Fitzpatrick. He said he does not know anybody else missing a limb in his hometown of Sherman.
“But since I can come to this camp, I can talk to them, hang out and they’re now new friends,” Ryan said.
“I think every day of Ryan’s life he feels different,” said his mother, Deirdre. “But here at Camp No Limits, he is free from his difference and he feels just like everyone else.”
That’s because all 27 campers here are also missing one or more limbs. The camp started 13 years ago in Maine. For the past three summers, they’ve held sessions on the Quinnipiac University campus.
“It’s amazing what some of the kids can do,” said Quinipiac University student Kaleigh Quinn. “I mean we have all different, unique amputees here. So it’s really cool in the PT and OT sessions to kind of watch them shine.”
Quinn is a a physical therapy major, and one of the student organizers of the camp. The campers have fun and also learn new skills for dealing with their differences. Unlike most camps, the whole family is invited to learn new things.
“For the parents, I think we get to see that there are so many other children out there who have overcome so many obstacles with their limb difference,” said Ryan’s father, Peter Fitzpatrick.
The kids, meanwhile, learn that there’s nothing wrong with being different.
“Just be myself and not try to hide my leg,” Ryan said. “I’ve learned a lot of great tips.”
The New York Sled Rangers and Connecticut’s Gaylord Sports Association Wolfpack will face off in a sled hockey game at Quinnipiac’s TD Bank Sports Center at 6:30 p.m. on Saturday, July 8. Admission is free. Sled hockey is a sit-down version of ice hockey for players whose disabilities prevent them from playing stand-up hockey.
The camp runs from Friday through Sunday at Quinnipiac York Hill Campus on Sherman Avenue in Hamden.