An annual Archdiocesan summer camp in Montgomery County offers children with disabilities “a bit of heaven on earth,” coordinators said.

Now in its third decade, Camp Rainbow offers what staff members have called “eight weeks of organized chaos” for residents of St. Edmond’s Home for Children.

Operated by the Catholic Social Services (CSS) of the Archdiocese, the Rosemont Intermediate Care Facility serves children aged six weeks to 21 years who are affected by a range of profound physical and intellectual disabilities.

Preparing healthy snacks was just one of the many activities at Camp Rainbow this year. (St. Edmond Children’s Home)

The first Catholic home of its kind in the United States, St. Edmond’s is part of the continuum of support offered by the Developmental Programs Division of CSS.

Typically, Camp Rainbow offers a mix of swimming, cooking, crafting, and gardening, as well as “snoezelen,” a multi-sensory environment experience designed to reduce anxiety and boost communication skills.

This year’s events focused on themes such as ‘fitness fun’, ‘sport week’ and ‘symphony of senses’, with campers taking part in relays, building an in-house ‘please touch’ museum and an “adventure aquarium” and making cupcakes and protein balls out of sunflower butter.

During the camp’s ‘beach and board’ session, the children enjoyed an outdoor barbecue after creating seashell paintings and sand art.

Another segment, “being messy,” speaks for itself, and the cleanup will take place at tomorrow’s “kids car wash” with sprinkler tents, said St. Edmond administrator Denise Clofine.

“Our camp director, Julia Vivanco, is an incredibly creative person,” she said, adding that the camp has been successful “even in the middle of a pandemic.”

And that’s good news for the staff as well as the campers, she added.

“Seeing the smiles on the children’s faces and hearing the giggles warms our hearts and as employees of Catholic Social Services,” said Clofine. “We count our blessings so we can do what we do every day to make a difference in the lives of others.”

This year’s Camp Rainbow included its own drive-in aquarium. (St. Edmond Children’s Home)