CSD of South Dakota is so excited to be part of the growth of a summer program designed specifically with Midwestern deaf and hard of hearing (D/HH) youth in mind! Here’s a bit of history, still in the making: three years ago, CSD of South Dakota held our first day camp in Aberdeen with just four deaf and hard of hearing (D/HH) children and parents in attendance. A year later in 2019, camp took place at Joy Ranch with 13 D/HH middle and high schoolers. When the pandemic struck, our summer program went virtual – needless to say, this was challenging, but we still had 10 motivated online attendees!
Then, because the interest was so great and our region so large, it made perfect sense for us to merge our efforts with the Sertoma Connections of the Great Plains club. Their co-directors had been hosting a camp in the state of Minnesota for over 20 years; our partnership meant that Camp UBU (You Be You!) could become an annual five-state summer event extraordinaire for D/HH youth from North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota, Nebraska, and Iowa! And with South Dakota being right in the middle – we get to be the hosts! This past June was our first collaborative event in Sioux Falls, and the number of campers shot up to 65, with even more on a wait list. Next summer, we’ve reserved Lake Poinsett Camp where campers can enjoy numerous outdoor activities and a true camp experience.
So many D/HH kids in the Midwest are scattered across a very rural part of the country, without regular access to self-representation and connections with others like themselves. Camp UBU is intended to be a space for D/HH youth between 2nd and 8th grades to meet and learn from their peers in addition to D/HH teen and adult role models.
Here at CSD of South Dakota, it’s our goal to meet the needs of our D/HH youth and their families, recognizing that access to peers from across the region is rare and truly a gift. We’re aiming to scale up 2022’s camp to accommodate at least 80 campers, if not 100. In order to do that, we need to raise at least $5,000 on #GivingTuesday to cover the costs of the following:
- Moving to a larger campground
- Additional scholarships at $200/camper, so that camp fees are never a barrier for any family
- Increased number of staff and role models to facilitate camp activities
To help us grow Camp UBU for D/HH youth in the Midwest, please donate to CSD of South Dakota on #GivingTuesday, November 30th!