CAMP STAR ANGELINA UNIVERSAL MASTER PLAN UNVEILING SET FOR THURSDAY
Mayor Domenic J. Sarno, Patrick Sullivan, Executive Director of Parks Buildings and Recreation Management and Terry Rodriquez, Chair of the Park Department, will announce the completion of The Camp STAR Angelina Universal Master Plan. The Master Plan focuses on universal design and recreational opportunities for youth of all abilities. The three-phased plan will be unveiled at a kick-off breakfast on Thursday April 14th, 2011 at 10:00 a.m., at the Carriage House in Forest Park. The City will be honoring the Mass Mutual Financial Group, Irene A. & George E. Davis Foundation, Parent and Friends of Camp STAR, Sheriff’s Department, Springfield Public Buildings Tradesmen Association, Department of Health and Human Services, SCCCA, and William and Edward Walker Trusts,
Mayor Domenic J. Sarno shows confidence in the master plan: “I am very excited about this opportunity to transform Camp STAR Angelina into an accessible facility that will allow all of our residents, most importantly our children and young adults, to experience the benefits of Forest Park without impediments. This program has been a valued resource in our community for over fifty years.”
Camp STAR Angelina is Springfield’s inclusive day camp program operated by the Recreation Division, located adjacent to Forest Park on Trafton Road and serves campers, ages 3-22, with and without disabilities. For many years the camp programs operated in two separate locations - an area middle school and a park on South Branch parkway. Camp STAR (Social Therapeutic Activities and Recreation) served campers with physical disabilities and Camp Angelina served campers with developmental disabilities. As programming space became available, the two camps merged in the early 2000’s and have since moved to Forest Park. The current camp program serves over 150 campers with and without disabilities, particularly those with physical, emotional, behavioral and learning disabilities, hearing and vision impairments and other medical concerns during the summer months. According to Tony Restivo, Therapeutic Recreation Director, “the camp program has been a life changing experience for the campers and staff as camp is about sharing and the memories are heartwarming. We all come away from it with a sense of pride and joy – this is the essence of Camp STAR Angelina.”
With a focus on universal design and recreational opportunities for people of all the abilities, the Universal Master Plan: Rebuilding Our Future will take our program into the next fifty years. Universal design streamlines accessibility throughout the overall design to allow for success among users of the entire life span, families with strollers and individuals using mobility devices. All aspects of the master plan will incorporate accessibility while meeting the programming needs of a summer day camp. Therapeutic Recreation Coordinator Laura Walsh states “it is important that all children and young adults, especially those with disabilities, have a place where they can grow, play and learn that is safe and accessible. This is the main tenet behind the master plan to ensure we will continue to provide a place for our campers to just be themselves and to discover universal play.”
Terry Rodriquez stated “new buildings and amenities will enhance the current program and provide much needed security, indoor space and climate controlled areas. Phase One: The Pool and Bathhouse will include a new, sloped entry accessible recreational pool and a centralized bathhouse. Construction is scheduled to begin in June / July on the Pool and Bathhouse. Funding for Phase One has been secured through the following community organizations: The MassMutual Financial Group, The Irene E. & George A. Davis Foundation, the Parents and Friends of Camp STAR and the Walker Trust. To date, a total of $410,000 has been pledged to this project, with the remaining funds leveled through in-kind services from our tradesmen union as well as area contractors and vendors.”
As funding becomes available the remaining phases will be implemented which will include an Administration Lodge, Activity Center, Universal Amphitheater and an Accessible Trail to Porter Lake.
Executive Director of the Department of Parks, Buildings and Recreation Management Patrick Sullivan stated that “by implementing the Universal Master Plan we will ensure that we have a state-of-the-art facility and the first universally designed day camp and park in Western Massachusetts. It has been a dream for the department for the last 25 years to develop a master camp plan and I am thrilled to be announcing this plan today. Mayor Sarno’s approach to improve our City has allowed this plan to move forward and become a reality to serve the campers and the parents who utilize the Camp Star Angelina grounds. We encourage anyone interested in taking part of the building of the camp to please contact the department as all gifts of time talent and treasure are welcome.”