About 10 miles north of downtown Frederick, located in the Tuscarora Creek Watershed, there is a place where kids diagnosed with emotional and behavioral disabilities find comradery among one another. At Camp Journey, a recreation-based youth respite program, children 11-17 learn how to manage their behavior through play. “We use games to help kids develop social skills like team work and taking turns through the use of recreation,” said Claudia Weakland, Director of Child and Adolescent Programs for Way Station, Inc. “They learn how to be friends in a safe environment.”
Offered year –round, families can determine the amount of time needed at Camp Journey; kids can stay for a few hours a day or as long as a weekend twice a month. There is no set length of time for participation as long as kids stay within the criteria for eligibility. “Families with children diagnosed with a mental illness face many challenges and often feel like ‘I can’t do this anymore’. We are here to give caretakers a break. Whether it’s taking another kid to soccer without worry or just taking time to reenergize,” said Weakland.
Campers on the other hand get exposed to countless activities designed to teach them coping mechanisms that they can use at home and school. They aren’t lacking choices either, Camp Journey is fully equipped indoors with craft supplies, foosball, ping pong and pool tables as well as a teen-appropriate video and book library. Outside, you can set your heart on a game of basketball, take a shot at gardening or relax with friends around a fire pit. There’s more, recreation activities include but are not limited to trips to museums, swimming, camping, attending professional ball games, snow tubing, roller skating and fishing.
Camp Journey is all fun and games but kids are also expected to help their adult mentors with chores too. “Kids do help with meal preparation, sweeping, taking out the trash and other housekeeping duties,” said Dave Evason, Manager of Respite Services for Camp Journey “Parents are really happy to hear about that part too.” The combined work and play help promote open communication, relationship building and problem solving skills.
A strength-based program, Camp Journey facilitators promote resiliency and directors attended a break-through collaborative that helped them put resiliency practices in place. Some core concepts of this approach are sense of competency, caring & respect of self & others, problem solving & coping skills, optimism & hope for the future, ability to reframe stress and sense of purpose & meaning.
There is also a Parent Support Group giving parents and guardians an opportunity to interact with others facing similar challenges.
Camp Journey accepts medical assistance but insurance doesn’t cover camp services. If you are interested in donating to their scholarship program, please call for more information.
Here’s a list of additional adolescent respite programs available through the county:
The Arc of Frederick County
Daybreak Community Church
Frederick Community Developmental Center
PERKS: Partnership for Emotionally Resilient Kids
The Frederick Senior Center is teeming with people 55 and over, and for good reasons. The facility is packed with resources, activities, educational workshops and more. Plus, it’s simple to get involved, all you have to do is walk-in. “Just walk through the door and I’m sure you’ll come back,” said Linda McGinnes, Senior Center Coordinator. “All you have to do is come in and register, there is no cost to join or membership fees.”
Don’t expect to find huge class registration costs when you get through the door either, many of the activities and resources are free. If not, they are offered at a minimal fee, some as low as one dollar. “Our goal is to tend to the community, added McGinnes. “We are continually adding programs to reach out to people and help meet their needs.”
Here’s a snapshot of what you can expect when visiting the Taney Avenue location:
Exercise Classes: Strength Training with hand-held weights and Moderate Motion designed for seniors with limited mobility. Both classes are offered year-round and do not require pre-registration. Chair Yoga, Tai Chi, Zumba Gold and Line Dancing are available in sessions.
Leisure Activities: Socialize over games like Mah Jong, Bridge, Canasta and Rummikub. Or join hobby groups for knitting, quilting, painting and crafts.
Educational Courses: Want to master another language? Attend classes for Chinese and/or Spanish. Or learn about the nutritional benefits of certain foods? Classes are scheduled in January about whole grains and debunking common food rumors. Need help with a new camera, phone or computer? Get one-one-one guidance on how to operate your personal gadget.
“There’s A Doctor in the House” Health Forums: Attend forums each month held by medical practitioners to review and discuss an assortment of health-related topics. Developed to help seniors gather questions to ask their personal physicians. In January, discuss breast cancer with a physician from Capital Women’s Care and in February Dr. Anita Nahar discusses kidney care. A light dinner is served.
Day Trips: Visit museums, the symphony orchestra, state parks and more. January trips include the Baltimore Museum of Industry and the Smithsonian.
Congregate Meal Program: Offered daily, enjoy a nutritious meal in the company of others. Adults age 60+ may make a contribution up to the full cost of the meal. Individuals under 60 may purchase a meal for $5. In addition to nutritious meals, participants have access to nutrition and health education, health screenings, and other educational and social opportunities.
Friendship Café: An extension of the meal program, the café offers a menu of light fare, including cold sandwiches, burgers, salads and desserts. The café is open mid-day on Wednesday, Thursdays and Fridays.
Large Print Library & Computer Center: Go online or read in a quiet setting. The center is also equipped with Wi-Fi throughout the building.
The Frederick Senior Center is the largest senior center in Frederick County but other centers are located in Urbana, Brunswick and Emmitsburg. To learn more, visit www.frederickcountymd.gov or call Linda McGinnes at 301-600-3525.
Frederick Senior Center
1440 Taney Avenue
Frederick, MD 21702
Urbana Senior Center
9020 Amelung Street
Frederick, MD 21704
Brunswick Senior Center
12 E.A Street
Brunswick, MD 21716
Emmitsburg Senior Center
300 South Seton Avenue
Emmitsburg, MD 21727