On Friday, July 30, campers and counselors at Camp Shriver at UMass Boston wound up another summer of fun and friendship with one last splash in the pool followed by a barbecue under a tent and then an awards ceremony.
The day was made even more special through a visit by Anthony Shriver, founder and chairman of Best Buddies International, and the son of Eunice Kennedy Shriver, who started the first Camp Shriver for children with intellectual disabilities in the backyard of her Maryland home in 1963.
The Camp Shriver at UMass Boston, which was first held in 2006, expanded on Mrs. Shriver's original vision by including children both with and without disabilities. Mrs. Shriver and her family visited in the summer of 2007, and this year, the Shriver and Kennedy families' involvement went a step further: Anthony Shriver's daughters Eunice and "Chessy" (Francesca), served as counselors, as did their cousin Kyra Kennedy, granddaughter of Robert F. Kennedy and daughter of RFK Jr.
"It was great to have a third generation of Shrivers and Kennedys get involved, and help carry on the mission of Mrs. Shriver," said Dr. Gary N. Siperstein, who founded UMass Boston's Camp Shriver at the suggestion of Eunice Kennedy Shriver, and this year was proclaimed the "Godfather of Fun" by campers and counselors.
"Through our research during the academic year, we've found that fun and play-- getting in the pool, playing soccer, having lunch together outside-- is the way to break down barriers between kids with disabilities and those without," Siperstein continued. "Then, every summer at Camp Shriver, we put those theories to the test. And you know what? It works."
More stories and background about Camp Shriver: