Skip To Main Content

News

Collier Inclusive Playground is Here!
Jillian Gletow

Collier Youth Services, a nonprofit located in Wickatunk, NJ, officially opened the Collier Inclusive Playground on Monday, June 27th. This playground will provide hundreds of hours of fun as well as mental and developmental growth for campers at Kateri Day Camp as well as Students in Collier School, both programs of Collier.

To mark this joyous occasion, Collier hosted a Ribbon Cutting Ceremony for all the donors who helped make the playground a reality. Among the audience were members of the Colts Neck Woman’s Club, the Lions Club of Colts Neck, Assemblywoman Vicky Flynn, individual donors, and board members. After the ribbon was cut, campers flooded the playground running toward their favorite pieces of equipment—the twisty slide and the whirl and twirl were among the top.

Collier Youth Services Officially Opens its Inclusive Playground

Collier Youth Services, a nonprofit located in Wickatunk, NJ, officially opened the Collier Inclusive Playground on Monday, June 27th. This playground will provide hundreds of hours of fun as well as mental and developmental growth for campers at Kateri Day Camp as well as Students in Collier School, both programs of Collier.

To mark this joyous occasion, Collier hosted a Ribbon Cutting Ceremony for all the donors who helped make the playground a reality. Among the audience were members of the Colts Neck Woman’s Club, the Lions Club of Colts Neck, Assemblywoman Vicky Flynn, individual donors, and board members. After the ribbon was cut, campers flooded the playground running toward their favorite pieces of equipment—the twisty slide and the whirl and twirl were among the top.

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.

The benefits of the Inclusive Playground Studies are truly significant. 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.

SPRING 2022--Collier Youth Services Inclusive Playground
Joseph McMerty

Coming soon Spring 2022--Collier Youth Services' Inclusive Playground!!

Coming soon Spring 2022--Collier Youth Services' Inclusive Playground!!

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. 

Thank you to everyone who supported this much-needed equipment for our students and campers!