Inclusive Playground

Investors Bank and Colts Neck Women’s Club help Kateri Day Camp Slide Closer to their Goal to Building an Inclusive Playground.
Posted on 10/01/2021
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Investors Bank and Colts Neck Women’s Club help Kateri Day Camp Slide Closer to their Goal to Building an Inclusive Playground.



Kateri Day Camp and Collier School, programs of Collier Youth Services, are just shy of their $125,000 goal to build an Inclusive Playground for their campers thanks to the Colts Neck Women’s Club and Investors Bank, who visited the future site of the playground on Wednesday, September 29, 2021.


Since 1977, Kateri has provided a safe, supervised summer camp experience that enriches the lives of children from Monmouth County’s poorest neighborhoods. Kateri is unique because it is the only day camp in Monmouth County that solely focuses on the children of families who live in poverty. Each summer, over 220 campers come to Kateri at little or no cost, thanks to camperships (camp scholarships) covering the full camp tuition, round-trip transportation, breakfast, lunch, snack, swim lessons, literacy program, and on and off-site activities.


While campers have access to Collier’s 260-acre campus, they miss the positive effects that playground play has on youth development. Studies have shown that playgrounds improve athletic abilities by gaining cardio endurance and strength from the varying equipment. Agility will improve as well as fine and gross motor skills, balance, and coordination. Imaginative play that occurs on a playground helps develop executive functioning skills providing them with opportunities to troubleshoot, prioritize, plan, and negotiate. 


An Inclusive Playground allows youth with disabilities to be included in this vital development. Last year, 55% of Kateri campers were diagnosed with some form of disability such as ADHD, Autism Spectrum Disorder, anxiety, oppositional defiant disorder, and cerebral palsy. An inclusive playground respects the needs of each of our campers. This safe and fun space where everyone can play together will foster a sense of community where everyone feels welcome, and there is something for everyone. 


When camp is not in session, the inclusive playground will be used by 80 students currently participating in the Occupational Therapy (OT) program at Collier School, also located on the Collier campus. Collier School is a Middle and High school for students whose mental health and behavioral challenges cannot be met within their public school. Many students are diagnosed with ADHD, anxiety, Autism Spectrum Disorder, depression, mood/attention/adjustment difficulties, oppositional/defiant behavior, poor social skills, and school avoidance. Children with these diagnoses can quickly become under or overwhelmed, anxious, stressed, or agitated throughout the school day. The playground will build gross and fine motor skills, core strength, and body awareness for them. Students will also use the playground to provide "movement breaks" to help them reset and be more productive in the classroom. 


Help Kateri Day Camp and Collier School reach their goal of $122,000 by making a donation to the playground today! To date $105,000 has been raised. Every bit helps. To make a donation online, visit https://www.collieryouthservices.org/Playground


If you would like to send a donation via mail, please make checks out to Collier Youth Services with a note on the memo line saying “playground” and mail to Collier Youth Services, 160 Conover Road, Wickatunk, NJ 07765.