Yesterday, at the Special Olympics New Jersey Sports Complex in Lawrenceville, as Camp Shriver was winding down for the day, a celebration started taking place – the 50th Anniversary of Camp Shriver!
Camp participants and their parents, as well as all of the counselors and volunteers, were invited onto the Tribute Patio for a group photo and a special treat – yummy cupcakes depicting our logo in red and white donated by the House of Cupcakes in Princeton.
Camp Shriver is a favorite summertime offering at Special Olympics New Jersey, borne out of the sheer determination and fortitude of its founder, Mrs. Eunice Kennedy Shriver.
In the early 1960s, Mrs. Shriver not only saw how unjustly and unfairly people with intellectual disabilities were treated, she also saw that many children with special needs didn’t even have a place to play. She decided to take action.
The goal was to learn what these children could do in sports and other activities – and not dwell on what they could not do.
In the summer of 1962, she put that vision into action by inviting young people with intellectual disabilities to a day camp she hosted in her backyard. She called it “Camp Shriver.”
Now, 50 years later, that vision has grown into the global Special Olympics movement. But Camp Shriver, as Mrs. Shriver envisioned it, still exists and versions of it take place throughout the world, from Malaysia and Haiti to right here in Lawrenceville, NJ.
SONJ’s Camp Shriver provide NJ athletes the opportunity sharpen their athletic skills throughout July in variety of sports in an inclusive environment while learning about health and fitness activities in order to promote a healthy and active lifestyle.
Each week over 100 participants will enjoy the company of peers while learning about soccer, golf, flag football, basketball and other sports. Guest clinicians will come in each week including PGA pros, the NY Red Bulls, and The College of New Jersey student athletes, to teach new skills. Each week ends with a competition on Friday.
Thank you, Mrs. Shriver, for your leadership and for the gift of Camp Shriver that we’re able to share with our athletes every summer.