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July 28, 2003

Camp HERO - Camp For Deaf Children

From: WNEP-TV, PA - Jul 28, 2003

More than 40 children are enjoying a special summer camp where they all have a lot in common.

It's called camp H.E.R.O. That stands for "Here Everyone Really is One".

You need to know a second language to really enjoy this camp in Columbia County.

One recent morning, children at Camp Victory near Millville were trying to build a bridge. It involved a lot of signals both verbal and sign to get across the bridge without dropping into the drink (a shallow stream).

Some students from Bloomsburg University earn 3 credits for helping out at this camp.

Professor Samuel Sike of Bloomsburg University oversees the program, "Right now, this whole week we're going to have 11 grad students, who are learning to work on language activities with the kids. We also have 29 undergrads who are taking a class called 'Practices with the Deaf and Hard of Hearing at Camp Hero."

The students work side by side with the children explaining all activities in spoken language and signs.

The children vary in how they deal with deafness. Some use hearing aids, one a bone conductor hearing aid that looks like a headset and points out settings. Amber Cragle of Berwick uses a cholear implant. "It's fun, " she says.

With good intentions, I made a copy of the American Sign Language alphabet, then found that didn't work for me here.

Jamie Galgoci, Camp H.E.R.O, "There are signs for words, not only the letters of the alphabet, like ABC. It's word signs for individual words." She told me it would take a very long time to spell out every word.

She's also from Bloomsburg University and is Second-in-Command at this camp. Jamie is also profoundly deaf. She knows the need for total communication among the campers, "There's all different kinds of hearing loss here and all the kids try to sign and speak at the same time. That way they try to understand each other."

We're told once the children are here they hate to leave.

But there's always next year.

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