Aleteia logoAleteia logo
Monday 27 September |
Saint of the Day: St. Vincent de Paul
home iconArt & Culture
line break icon

Camp Open Arms: Where children with limb differences are normal


Camp Open Arms | Facebook

J-P Mauro - published on 08/21/17

The camp offers a safe environment where the kids can be themselves.

Dr. Josh Abzug is a pediatric orthopedic surgeon in the University of Maryland Medical System. Over the course of his career working with children who suffer from limb differences or abnormalities, he noticed the emotional toll that growing up with disabilities took on the children and parents. Their hardships inspired him to create a safe space for these children to explore their physical capabilities without the scrutiny of the other “normal” students.

The Baltimore Sun reports that Dr. Abzug organized a collaboration between the University of Maryland Children’s Hospital and the University of Maryland department of orthopedics to create Camp Open Arms in 2014. The camp hosts children with all sorts of limb-altering disabilities. Some of the activities include hiking, sports, and obstacle courses.

The camp also offers a support group that helps kids answer questions about their bodies as well as teaches them how to respond to others who ask them about their disabilities. The children are encouraged to keep in touch after camp, with the hope that these friendships can become another support system.

The children have a lot of fun at Camp Open Arms and each year has seen an increase in campers. Carly Quarengesser, a nurse at University of Maryland St. Joseph Medical Center and volunteer camp counselor, describes the change in demeanor as a “flipped switch” as the kids realize they are away from the scrutiny of their peers.

Alyssa Rhine, 11, spoke with the Baltimore Sun, about what she took away from Camp Open Arms:

“It’s neat to know I’m not the only one,” she said. “There’s not many people in the world, it seems, with differences, and I think it’s kind of cool to meet some of those people.”

Support Aleteia!

If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.

Here are some numbers:

  • 20 million users around the world read every month
  • Aleteia is published every day in seven languages: English, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
  • Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
  • Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
  • Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
  • We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)

As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.

Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...

Top 10
The Sinai Peninsula and the Dead Sea Rift
J-P Mauro
Experts now believe Sodom was destroyed by a meteor
J-P Mauro
Chicago architect models Vatican City from 67,000 LEGO bricks
Giovanna Binci
He’s autistic, she has Down syndrome, and they’re wonderfully hap...
Fr. Michael Rennier
The purpose of life according to J.R.R. Tolkien
Bret Thoman, OFS
Exclusive photos: Meet Padre Pio and the place he lived
crisis man
Marzena Devoud
Advice from 3 monks for overcoming acedia
Christ and the woman taken in adultery
Daniel Esparza
What Jesus wrote
See More
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.