Campers at Camp Wonder Hands Play Ball With Columbia Police Department


BATESBURG-LEESVILLE, S.C. (WOLO)– Camp Wonder Hands’ campers really had a unique experience that will give them stories to tell for the rest of their lives. People usually remember summer camps for the life-long friends they make, the canoeing and silly games they play, but those attending CampWonder Hands won’t ever forget the day the Columbia Police department showed up with multiple K-9s.

“We saw the guy get apprehended by the dog. The guy in the red jacket,” Triallen Washington said, a camper at Camp Wonder Hands. 

“Well, really, I was shocked at first that that dog ran and grabbed that guys arm. At first I was a little bit nervous and I thought the dog might chase us or something,” Alexis Strothersegleston said, another camper. 

While the campers’ week includes typical ‘summer camp’ activities like swimming, dancing, and even a clown magic show, they also get a visit from the Columbia Police Department.  This is the 22nd year of CampWonder Hands and the visit from the Police is now expected, but this year, they had the added fun watching the K-9s work.

“What better opportunity community building than to have a relationship between a Hard of Hearing and Deaf summer camp and your local Police Department,” E.T. Taylor said, the director of CampWonder Hands. 

“It seems like every time we come out here the kids just have a blast. We enjoy playing with them, they enjoy playing with us. For a lot of them this is the first time being around police officers and seeing we like to have a good time too,” Lt. P.J. Blendowski said, with the Columbia Police Department. 

Kids come from states as far as Virginia and North Carolina to attend CampWonder Hands— a week long summer camp for hard of hearing and Deaf children. The camp helps the 65 campers build self-esteem, their image, and learn that no matter what challenges they face, they can reach their goals.

“One of the goals of camp is to design camp so that Deaf culture is celebrated. In this week, the campers are the majority. For 51 other  weeks of the year they’re, unfortunately looked at as a minority. And they’re not treated with the dignity, respect, and the love and security that they really need,” Taylor said. 

“I have so much fun socializing, meeting other Deaf children. We have so many activities here. We have swimming and we have dance and we have art and we learn something new every day,” Strothersegleston said. 

A cool opportunity for the kids in the Deaf community and they were all smiles getting to meet some hometown heroes. If you have a Deaf or hard of hearing child who’d like to participate, you can click on the link here to learn more about the camp. 


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