Student receiving certificate from camp.

HDI Hosts Summer Leadership Camp For High School Students with Disabilities

Last week, HDI hosted a Summer Leadership Experience Camp for high school students with disabilities. The camp, designed to prepare students for a successful transition to college, included presentations and activities to promote self-advocacy, self-determination, and leadership skills needed to succeed in college.

According to campers, highlights of the week included seeing UK dorms and the campus tour, campus food options, the great camp staff, and the comfortable chairs in the Gatton College of Business! Additionally, campers said they particularly enjoyed a motivational speech from UK Volleyball Coach Craig Skinner, a lecture on leadership from UK Veterans Resource Center Director, Tony Dotson, and a talk about effective communication and self-disclosure from Health Communications PhD student, Whittney Darnell. One camper stated that the thought of talking with the professors about needed classroom accommodations was intimidating and uncomfortable, but that role-playing these types of discussions during Ms. Darnell’s camp session helped her to prepare for future conversations about accommodations and to feel confident in sharing her thoughts.

Camp Director, Teresa Belluscio, shares:

The summer leadership camp was a fantastic experience. Campers learned about self advocacy, setting goals, independent living skills and being leaders. Camp was packed full of information and resources that students need to successfully transition to post-secondary education. Our sessions led campers to think about their future and understand ideas and concepts that lead to success.

Campers also engaged in activities concerning health and wellness, such as healthy food preparation and exercise options, as well as discussions on time management, assistive technology, financial aid, and student life.

HDI’s Summer Leadership Experience Camp was funded by the Kentucky Office of Vocational Rehabilitation. The cost of the program to campers was $10. HDI hopes to continue to expand college readiness opportunities in the future.