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Camp Northward in Falmouth offered a zip line experience to campers with disabilities

For the first time in its 81-year history, Camp Northward in Falmouth offered campers with disabilities the opportunity to zip line.

This unique reverse zip line experience even included campers who are wheelchair-bound and who have other physical limitations, making it an especially pivotal moment for the camp.

Campers participating in the zip line experience included:

·       Ella Wright (26), Foster
·       Clyde Gothard (56), Dry Ridge
·       Collin Hillner (21), Amelia, Ohio
·       Shawn Patterson (47), Crescent Springs
·       Justin Rose (35), Verona

“This has been a long time coming,” said Nathan Derico, Camp Northward’s executive director. “I am thrilled that we were able to provide a safe zip line experience for our special needs campers. We are already discussing possibilities to improve the experience for future sessions.”

The Camp Northward zip line experience normally begins atop a 25-foot-high launch tower and follows an 800-foot course above the Pendleton County treetops.

For the special needs experience, safety modifications were required. Camp staff harnessed campers at the end of the zip line and gave them a running push to propel them to the middle portion of the line, giving them the same adrenaline-fueled treetop experience as any other camper. They were then manually pulled back to the end of the zip line.

“For me, the highlight of the session was watching the campers get to do something they’d never done before,” said Chris Cole, a volunteer faculty for one of the special needs sessions. “There was so much excitement and energy, it was indescribable. They experienced the same emotions as anyone else who zip lines – fear, anticipation, exhilaration. But for them it was even more special because this was an experience they never thought they’d be able to have.”

Camp Northward is situated on a 90-acre campus that includes the Cedar Lodge dorms, a Treehouse Village, a multipurpose pavilion, four campfire areas, a playground, a team building area, a lake with paddle-boating and the zip line course.

Camp Northward is a Christian camp and retreat center located in Falmouth. The Camp offers summer experiences rich in fun, friendship, learning and adventure. Sessions range from Day Camp for those entering first grade to Treehouse Adventure for high schoolers as well as specialty weeks such as the special needs sessions.

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