Camp Sign Adventures focuses on ASL for deaf and hard of hearing children

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Camp Sign Adventures takes their final trip of the season to sail and fish at Northerly Island.

"We allow the kids to be exposed to different kinds of activities like team building, different kayaking experiences," said Sarah Faber, program specialist for the Chicago Park District. "We go sailing, we go fishing so it's more outdoor, outside and learning different activities and skills."

The camp is geared toward kids that are that are deaf and hard of hearing, but siblings and kids of deaf parents, or "KODA," are welcome as well.

Faber said using American Sign Language helps the campers learn communication, build confidence and feel included.

"It's very important for them to know the language it improves and increases self-esteem," she said. "It's important for them to learn ASL and communicate with other peers themselves."

For the kids it's all about doing activities they love.

"I like cooking, exercising, it helps you get strong, and kayaking," said FridaGrace Reyna, camper.

"I like activities and different play with my friends it's really fun," said camper Yesenia Lazano.

Campers on the Northerly Island adventure split into two groups for rounds of sailing then lessons in fishing.

In each lesson counselors and staff communicate verbally and with ASL, providing an inclusive environment and giving each child a new experience.

"I think this camp is really for them so they feel I can do this, whether they can't hear, or not I can do this," Faber said. "I can play, I can kayak, I can go boating, I can go fishing, just like all the other hearing kids."

Camp Sign Adventures runs for six weeks every summer with the Chicago Park District. They also have activities year round.

Click here for more information about Chicago Park District programs for the deaf and hard of hearing.

Click here for more information on special recreation programs from the Chicago Park District
Copyright © 2019 WLS-TV. All Rights Reserved.