An Experience Like No Other
By Stephanie McGrath
Nestled on 66 acres of beachfront in Angola, New York, Cradle Beach Camp has been providing an enriching, nurturing, and transformational overnight summer camp experience to children ages 8 to 16, since 1888. Located just 30 minutes south of Buffalo on Lake Erie, Cradle Beach’s inclusive programming provides life-changing experiences for children of all abilities.
Children who attend Cradle Beach eagerly take part in learning new skills, building new friendships, singing by the campfire, walking on the beach, enjoying sports, learning about nature, trail-walking, and climbing in our wheelchair accessible treehouse — the first of its kind in New York state!
We mean it when we say we are a camp for all abilities! Each summer we welcome up to 800 children, many of whom do not have a disability. However, in an average summer, we support approximately 100 different medical conditions and are equipped with three or four onsite registered nurses who are always on campus to support their needs.
Amazingly, some of our campers have never seen a lake before, often referring to it as the ocean. This provides the perfect opportunity for them to learn about geography and nature. Our fully accessible swimming pool allows children who use wheelchairs to be lifted safely to enter the pool to join their peers in all the fun. About 500 campers receive swim lessons each summer. Since cell phones are not permitted, campers get to enjoy all activities without any distractions for a healthier experience. Speaking of healthy, the kids spend 4 to 6 hours outdoors, exceeding the national average, and learn about the importance of physical activity and healthy food. Those who return to camp year after year tell us that they continued to work at maintaining those healthier lifestyle choices during the school year.
The Cradle Beach Camp model consists of eight weekly sessions, during which 100 campers remain on campus Monday through Friday and return home for weekends. Many campers who attend would never have the opportunity to learn, play, and grow alongside a diverse group of children of varying physical abilities, cultures, and backgrounds if we did not exist.
If you are interested in learning more about Cradle Beach, visit www.CradleBeach.org. To register your child for camp, call 716-549-6307, ext. 205 today! The first session starts on Monday, June 27.
Stephanie McGrath is Director of Advancement and Development at Cradle Beach, and a life-long advocate for the disability community. Her younger sister Kaitlin was diagnosed with developmental disabilities and cerebral palsy, at a young age. The two were raised together in an inclusive household and their differing abilities had no impact on their capabilities. It was during these young, defining years that Stephanie acquired the skills, compassion, and empathy that has impacted her career and life decisions. She is thrilled to work at Cradle Beach, and looks forward to welcoming children to the camp this summer.