Angel Warriors hosts successful first summer camp

ALABASTER – The Angel Warriors Foundation concluded its first summer camp for students with special needs on Friday, June 30. Before this summer, AWF President Jamia Alexander-Williams said options for summer activities in the Alabaster area were limited for kids with special needs.

“It’s important for us to bring this camp to Alabaster, because there was nothing here before,” Williams said

AWF Vice-President Erika Zoebelein said the camp was a reflection of AWF’s overall mission, which is to empower community members with special needs.

“Where other kids could go to a regular camp, this is giving kids with special needs kids an opportunity to have this experience and have fun,” Zoebelein said.

Zoebelein said this year’s camp hosted four students, who learned about life skills, made crafts and went on field trips each week.

“We picked field trips that tied into a theme each week,” Zoebelein said. “We did activities based on those themes, and found fun things to do with math and science.”

Rising seventh grader Alex Jarrett said he had fun, and his favorite part of camp was participating in the Artabilities program, which was sponsored by the Shelby County Arts Council. He also said he enjoyed the field trip they took to the Southern Museum of Flight.

“We saw helicopters and planes,” Alex said.

Zoebelein thanked the SCAC, along with the many other local organizations that helped provide activities for the campers.

Special Education students from the University of Montevallo aided the camp. Volunteers from Target stores in Alabaster and the U.S. 280 area helped campers with crafts and the Alabaster YMCA designated a time for campers to use its pool once a week. Hand-In-Paw also brought the Alabaster City Schools therapy dog, Warrior, for campers to play with.

“We’ve had a lot of community support,” Zoebelein said. “The community put faith in us that we could do it.”

Zoebelein and Williams said the first AWF camp was a success, and they are planning to host the second camp next summer.

“It’s been a good learning experience,” Zoebelein said. “It’s been neat get to know the kids and discover what all they can do.”

Williams said AWF is also planning to host a play day with games and water activities for the special needs community on Saturday, July 15. The event will take place from 4 to 6 p.m. at the pavilion in Alabaster’s Veteran’s Park.