Rusty Graham’s favorite things are playing sports, creating art and making new friends. It’s no wonder, then, that if you ask him his favorite part of SOAR365’s Summer Camp, he says, “Everything!”
Rusty, who has Down syndrome, is 27 years old and full of energy. From the time he was a toddler, he’s played sports in a variety of programs for children and adults with disabilities, including TOPSoccer, Buddy Ball and the Special Olympics. From bowling and power lifting to basketball and baseball, he’s done it all.
And he loves his teammates as much as the athletics. In fact, he took one day off from Summer Camp to attend an end-of-season pizza party with his coach and friends. When his mother, Pam, arrived to pick him up, she was impressed by how friendly the SOAR365 staff and participants were.
“Everyone was so nice! They all came up and introduced themselves. Everyone seemed so happy to meet Rusty’s mom,” she says.
While he arrived at camp with one close friend, Rusty left with many more. “Rusty’s always been very friendly and outgoing. He loves to compliment people, and he loves to help out,” says Pam.
Not only is he active in his church, but Rusty is also a lifelong Boy Scout. He hopes to become an Eagle Scout this year, once he earns his badges in cycling and emergency preparedness.
This makes him feel right at home at Camp Baker, where Pam says he enjoyed swimming, arts and crafts, horseback riding and paddle boating. It was Rusty’s first time attending a two-week sleepaway camp, but it won’t be his last. She hopes he might also get to try tent camping when he comes back with his friends this summer.
“Thank you for having such a wonderful camp for families to send their children to,” says Pam.
To learn more about Summer Camp and our other programs for children and adults with disabilities, please visit soar365.org/find-support.
Donate today, and you can make sure Summer Camp is here for our campers year after year: soar365.org/donate