In the late 1970s, legislation mandated equal services for the disabled. The ROBIN program has grown into a comprehensive system, offering both therapeutic and diverse recreational activities. An example of therapeutic programming is the Therapeutic Ice Program, whose goal is skill development as well as increased self-confidence and esteem through mastery in sport. Participants are evaluated by qualified ice skating professionals and work either one to one or in small groups on ice skating skills. The success of this program can be seen in the accomplishments of the growing number of competitors in the New Jersey Special Olympics.
The goal of year-round programming is to provide a basic introduction to recreation opportunities and lifetime skill development. This program consists of a Saturday morning program, for ages seven- adult, which includes sport skill development (such as ice skating), arts & crafts, active and passive recreation activities, and special events or parties. Participants are placed in teams according to age and ability. A one to two, through one to four ratio of staff to participants, exists. One to one volunteers are sought for those needing extra attention. A Sunday evening Special Olympics swim competition class has recently been added to our program.
The adult program has been expanded to provide opportunities to participate in some of the township’s most popular recreation programs such as fitness and yoga, cooking, crafts, computer classes, and the ever-popular Friday Night Fun Program. Our Teen Program meets every Friday during the school year. We are anxiously anticipating the addition of our newly developed music program. We hope to offer this to all our participants. Our goal is to someday see our therapeutic recreation participants included in mainstream general recreation programs with their non-disabled peers.
The Summer ROBIN day camp program for children ages seven through twenty-one, operates five weeks, five days a week. Although the focus is on fun, it is hoped that the child will maintain and expand the mental, physical and social/emotional skills acquired during the school year. Following an initial assessment, children at risk are conditionally accepted and every effort is made to see that their needs are met. Team supervisors and leaders work to develop programs geared towards the children’s needs, interests and development. Trips are an integral part of Camp ROBIN and fun and safety are always a priority!
Camp ROBIN Coordinator