PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Having fun at camp is a tradition for millions but there’s one camp in Delaware County where both the campers and counselors have transformative experiences.READ MORE: ABC Men Feeding Philadelphia Community Physically And Spiritually One Box At A Time
There are all kinds of health benefits linked to summer camp activities, but for Camp PALS, it is also about understanding differences.
The week-long sleepaway camp is created especially for young adults with Down syndrome.
“I would say this is the best camp in the world. It has lots of fun things like dances and things like that,” explains PALS camper Fraser Lamb.
Lamb and his counselor, Laith Cuyjey, are paired together for the week.
“We realize they’re just like us and we realize it’s not just camp for them, it’s camp for us,” says Cuyjey.
Jenni Newbury Ross is the co-founder of PALS Programs. Her brother has Down syndrome.READ MORE: Camden County Health Officials Enlisting Bilingual Volunteers To Help Dispel COVID Vaccine Fears In Latino Community
“Not only are we transforming the lives of young adults with Down syndrome, many of whom are away from home for the first time and are having new and wonderful experiences, but that we’re radically transforming the lives of these young people without Down syndrome who may have never thought about the world from a different perspective,” Ross explains.
With games and all sorts of activities, life lessons are learned.
“It definitely teaches me not to judge people from just the outside because everyone is so different, everyone has different experiences, everyone has a different life, you have to get to know someone,” says Cuyjey.
Pals camps are held around the country as this one at Cabrini College received funding from the Snider Foundation and the Julian Krinsky Foundation.
Campers and counselors start out as strangers and end up friends with new perspectives.
“We are more alike than different and we all have a place in this world and we all have a place on this campus as well,” says counselor Evan Herrington.
Jenni started the camp with two other high school students back in 2004 and now there are 50 camps around the country with hundreds of campers, counselors, and volunteers involved.MORE NEWS: 'Really Good Step In The Right Direction' For Philadelphia Restaurants As Some COVID Restrictions Relaxed
Camp Pals wraps up this week.