Unique Camp Breaks Down Communication, Social Barriers

EAU CLAIRE, Wis. — Mayo Clinic Health System is sponsoring its eighth annual Aphasia Camp for people with an impaired ability to use or comprehend words, usually as a result of a stroke or brain injury. Aphasia Camp 2011 will be Friday through Sunday, Sept. 9 to 11, at YMCA Camp Manitou in New Auburn.

Individuals with communication disorders tend to isolate themselves and withdraw from social settings. Aphasia Camp is one of the few camps nationwide that offers people with aphasia and their family, spouses or caregivers a chance to increase social interaction and practice communication skills in a supportive setting.

“We didn’t set out to create something unique,” said Mary Beth Clark, a speech pathologist at Mayo Clinic Health System who was one of the camp’s original organizers. “We just saw a real need among our patients and their families for a social, yet therapeutic, outlet such as this, so a bunch of us got together and said, ‘Let’s do this.’ ”The camp runs largely on clinicians, instructors and community members volunteering their time, as well as local businesses donating goods and services. Campers can choose to participate in activities, such as fishing, boating, golfing, biking, computer technology, arts and crafts, cooking and games.Medical support and counseling is provided by Mayo Clinic Health System speech pathologists, physical therapists, occupational therapists, massage therapists, chaplains and registered nurses.

Tuition includes materials, activities, meals and accommodations for two nights and three days. The weekend cost is $150 per person with aphasia and $100 per caregiver/family member. The one-day cost is $75 per person. Cabins accommodate six to eight people.

For more information or to register, contact Clark at 715-838-1725 or clark.marybeth1@mayo.edu. Or register online at www.mayoclinichealthsystem.org and search for “Aphasia Camp.” Registration is due Friday, Aug. 5.

Mayo Clinic Health System, Chippewa Valley Aphasia Groups and the Eau Claire YMCA sponsor the camp.

See photos from previous years on Flicker.

Download Save the Date card

Download Aphasia Camp Brochure

Register Online (register link is at the bottom of the page)

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