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Utah camp helps people with disabilities develop life-skills

Utah camp helps people with disabilities develop life-skills


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SALT LAKE CITY — This Thursday, KSL will be at Camp Kostopulos as part of the Utah Gives Back Initiative. It’s a camp helping people of all ages with all kinds of disabilities learn the skills they need to live on their own.

Up Emigration Canyon Road, just past Ruth’s Diner, is a 25-acre camp not a lot of Utahns know about. It’s a place 17-year-old Kimber Kinsman has been coming for the past five years: “I usually do the sleepover camp once a year, but I do day camps for four weeks," she said.

Kimber has been diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, cerebral palsy, post-traumatic stress disorder and had fetal alcohol syndrome as a baby. One day, she’ll have to live an independent life, and she said Camp Kostopulos is teaching her the skills she’ll need to do that.

“You know this and that and you’ll be able to be on your own,” she said.

Counselor Antonino “Pudge” Bussa has cerebral palsy and has worked at other special needs camps.

“Camp K offers a lot of activities, such as high ropes and low ropes and horseback riding which other special needs camps that I’ve worked at did not have,” he said.

Camp K is probably best known for its summer camps, but it also has community social programs that last throughout the year. Camp K President and CEO Mircea Divricean said the camp offers drama classes or dance lessons.

“Or, we could just go out in the community and watch a Jazz game one night where they learn how to purchase a ticket and how to find their location in the arena," Divricean said.

They’ve also added equestrian therapy, which has been used by groups from Primary Children’s Hospital, the University of Utah and Odyssey House. Divricean said the therapy has been very helpful for one child with autism.

“The mom just recently told us that for the first time, he’s starting to sing on the horse and say words," he said.

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Paul Nelson


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