Camp Pa-Qua-Tuck Offers Retreat for Special Needs Children

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Floral Park-Bellerose Rotary Club Holds Information Session on May 24

Nestled on 37 acres of green space on the shores of Kaler’s Pond in Center Moriches lies Camp Pa-Qua-Tuck, a summer camp for Children with special needs and disabilities. Floral Parkers and Nassau County residents are invited to join the Floral Park-Bellerose Rotary Club for an information session about the camp’s programs on May 24, at 5:30 p.m., at Fiore Restaurant, 142 Tulip Ave., Floral Park.

Karen Signoracci Suero, a member of the Mineola/Garden City Rotary Club and spokesperson for the organization, explains that while Camp Pa-Qua-Tuck may be a familiar name to those living in Suffolk County, many Nassau County residents are unaware of its existence. “It’s been a very well kept secret for a long time,” Signoracci Suero said. “I am trying to educate people about the camp being there or if I meet a family or if someone knows a family that has a child with a disability, I can explain if this might be a good fit for them,” she explained.

The Camp’s mission is to help children and adults with disabilities achieve equality, dignity, and maximum independence through a safe and quality program of camping, recreation, and education in a summer-time environment, according to its website. It serves children and young adults, ages 6 through 21, with a variety of physical and developmental disabilities.  The week at camp is full of activities such as boating, hiking, arts & crafts, sign language, games and swimming.  

The organization, owned and run by the Moriches Rotary Club, was started as a camp for the eradication of polio in 1941. According to Signoracci Suero, the programs provide campers with both with a recreational and educational experience. “What we really want the campers to do is broaden their horizons, you know, push themselves a little bit. We find so many of the campers, when they are leaving their self-confidence is boosted. Their parents often send us letters and evaluations and say they have a surge of independence,” she said.

As a sleepaway summer camp experience, the organization offers weekly sessions over the course of the summer. “There are not a lot of sleepaway camps; there are a lot of day programs. We’re really one of the only sleepaway camps in the Metropolitan area,” Signoracci Suero added.

A volunteer organization, Camp Pa-Qua-Tuck does not accepted government funds, according to its website. Signoracci Suero says that Long Island Rotary Clubs and members of the local community have played a significant role in supporting the camp throughout its history.

“It wouldn’t really be where it is today without the support of people from all over Long Island, but we’re working…to get more presence and more people to know about this camp that are in Nassau County,” she said.  

Richard Burgess, president elect of the Floral Park-Bellerose Rotary Club, is excited to offer parents, and those caring for children with special needs, an opportunity to learn more about the organization and its mission. “Our members are looking forward to help spread the word about the camp to residents in the Floral Park community and those living in Nassau County,” Burgess said.

The cost of the Rotary event is $20, which includes dinner. For more information on this event, call Rich Burgess at 516-554-2716; or to learn more about the camp, visit camppaquatuck.com.

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