Summer program serving students with special needs underway in Wichita

WICHITA, Kan. A special program is underway in Wichita to ensure that a group of local students aren't left out from opportunities to learn and stay active this summer,

The YESS camp, a summer program serving mostly students with intellectual and developmental disabilities kicked off in late May.

YESS stands for "Youth Education and Summer Socialization." The Arc of Sedgwick County and community donors make it possible.

The program began 33 years ago with drives from parents of children with disabilities to provide a place where their children could belong and stay active during the summer months.

The YESS camp lasts 10 weeks, from the end of the school year in May until the start of the next year in August.

"We see that if we can keep them doing education in the morning, if we can keep some of those routines in place, then they're able to pick up where they left off in the spring, and we've had teachers say that this has helped tremendously with their students," says Krystian Caywood with the Arc of Sedgwick County.

At the camp, part of each day is set aside for education, whether students are focusing on academics or activities. Organizers incorporate fun with the students' learning.

"Something we hear all the time from our siblings or our students here at YESS camp is, they're so jealous because we give the best summer ever. A lot of our staff say, 'man, we do more in the summer than we ever (did) in our entire childhood.'"

You can help support the YESS camp by donating money to
the Arc of Sedgwick County.

You can also help organizers and the students they serve by donating water bottles and sunscreen at the Arc of Sedgwick County, 2919 W. 2nd Street in Wichita.