“What we saw at that camp is that our lives could be better”

– James LeBrecht, a filmmaker and disability rights activist in speaking about Camp Jened and it’s impact upon the disability rights movement.

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Our Why

“Wings of Friendship is a place where people of all abilities can join together to share their voices and spend time with one another. This magnificent group has given me the opportunity to be a leader, a friend, and a chance to change my perspective towards others and myself. Before, I was not a kind or social person and I had mixed feelings about others with special needs. Wings of Friendship changed my perspective. I learned how bright, talented, and wonderful each of us are and to be grateful to be the awesome me.”

– Daniel Tabares, 19 years old,
Wings of Friendship Ambassador

We all deserve the opportunity to make friends, belong and enjoy equitable experiences. The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated feelings of anxiety and isolation and reduced opportunities for meaningful connection for those with disabilities, who are under served and underrepresented in our society.

Camp Wings of Friendship developed as a direct response to the crisis impacting this at-risk population. Through a fun, unique virtual summer camp experience led by and for those with physical and neurological differences, we will experience a summer to remember.

Campers

  • Campers consist of teenagers and adults of all physical and neurological abilities from across the country
  • Campers come from various backgrounds and experiences, offering the unique opportunity to meet others who have shared similar experiences and learn from those with different perspectives
  • Campers communicate through a variety of different methods
  • Campers include friends with cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, Williams syndrome, autism, achondroplasia, apraxia, learning differences and more
  • This is the best fit for campers who can engage in three on-screen activities per day

Camp Activities

  • Camp activities run Monday through Friday using the Zoom platform
  • Three on-screen gatherings per day at 12 pm, 2 pm and 4 pm
  • Large and small-group activities made possible through the breakout room feature
  • Recurring activities along with special guests and virtual fieldtrips each week
  • Activities led by professionals and passion leaders of a variety of backgrounds and skillsets to create a diverse and engaging experience for campers
  • Wings of Friendship curriculum led by a speech-language pathologist and adventure educator to deepen connections and foster meaningful dialogue
  • Recurring activities include art, acting, yoga, farm trips, campfires, trivia, dance and more!
  • Surprise guests and special events to take place throughout the summer
  • Counselors and directors guide and support campers through activities while building friendships
  • Off-screen curriculum provided weekly
  • All activities create the authentic camp experience for an unforgettable summer of FUN!

Camp Staff

  • Led by a staff of all abilities
  • Directed by a speech-language pathologist and an adventure educator who co-developed weekly curriculum to foster a safe space for meaningful communication and human connection
  • Co-directed by an accessibility and disability rights advocate and community relations executive
  • Professionals and passion leaders serve as our activity directors
  • Counselors of all backgrounds, passions and abilities lead small group “cabins,” supporting and bonding with campers

DYLAN’S WINGS OF CHANGE & THE FRIENDSHIP JOURNEY

Camp Wings of Friendship is a collaboration between The Friendship Journey of South Florida and Dylan’s Wings of Change of Newtown, Connecticut. Our nonprofit organizations connected by chance and began working together just before the COVID-19 crisis. In addition to our shared vision of a more compassionate world, our Parkland and Sandy Hook communities speak the language of loss. We honor those whose lives were taken due to violence and hatred by setting off ripples of kindness, understanding and love. We shifted our initial in-person plans and created virtual programming collaboratively based on our shared concerns for connection, belonging and esteem, offering on-screen gatherings and activities collectively everyday since March. As each day passed, the concern grew for how to support those we serve through the summer months and from this, Camp Wings of Friendship was developed.

DYLAN’S WINGS OF CHANGE

Dylan’s Wings of Change honors the memory of Dylan Hockley, one of the first-grade victim of the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in December of 2012. Wingman, our experiential education program, fosters empathy, courage and connection. Through meaningful dialogue and purposeful activities, we create supportive teams, compassionate communities and a kinder world; sparking the “butterfly effect”.

THE FRIENDSHIP JOURNEY

The Friendship Journey unites friends of all physical and neurological abilities through equitable opportunities and lasting connections. Our inclusive programs foster relationships through memorable experiences, creating a community that is home to everyone. In all that we do, we honor Jaime Guttenberg and Gina Montalto, two of our student volunteers who lost their lives in the Parkland shooting.

In honor of Dylan, Jaime, Gina and all of those who lost their lives to violence and hatred.
Love wins.