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      28 / 19

      Bay Cliff empowering campers

      One-hundred-sixty campers, all with a special story, are taking over Bay Cliff's Summer Therapy Camp for the next eight weeks.

      The summer program that specializes in physical, occupational, and speech and hearing therapy for children with disabilities has reached its 79th summer.

      "This first week is all about learning the kids, and what they can do, and what the challenges are. For the rest of the summer, we'll work on those goals, and it really will be remarkable at the end of the summer how much they improve," said Camp Director Tim Bennett.

      Campers and counselors come from the U.P. and all over the country. Fifty percent of the children are return campers, too.

      During the first week, the 130 therapists evaluate the campers, then they team up and create goals together.

      When camper Jordan Anderson was asked what his goals were, he said, "Drive my wheelchair better and walk in my walker, like you saw. I like it here very much."

      One of the big things Bay Cliff focuses on is making everyday tasks easier for their campers, whether that's moving from place to place or learning how to zipper and button their clothes.

      Each year, campers achieve everything from walking longer distances to better motor skills.

      "The goals don't have to be fancy jargon. It's real life, where the rubber meets the road, learning to do things that we all take for granted. I think that's really the key for kids here. We don't pretend to be a fancy place, and we don't need to be. It's everyday things that enable our children to do all the things that other kids do. That's what we're all about," Bennett said.