It's Not Your Average Summer Camp

Some midlands kids are taking a pass on playing at home this summer.

Instead they're working to train service dogs in a camp whose work really makes a difference.

It's not your average summer camp...

"Being here with the dogs and just working with them and having an opportunity like this is so much fun."said George Rikki one of the campers at the PAALS camp.

These Summer PAALs campers are working to train service dogs -- animals that will one day assist people with disabilities by helping them do things like opening doors or turning on lights.

This is Rikki George's third year with the camp.

"My mom told me about it and it sounded really interesting. I'm a dog lover and an animal lover so after the first year I kinda got hooked on it."

Jennifer Rogers Executive Director of PAALs says the camp has grown in the eight years it's been around. It's gone from one to three weeks and from half days to full days.

While the campers have a serious task. Rogers says they also make it fun.

Jennifer Rogers, PAALS Executive Director: "We do some traditional camp games but we incorporate the dogs into them. One example might be musical chairs – it's musical place behavior with our dogs. So we just put kind of a canine twist on everything we do."

Rogers says the camp allows her organization to see how the dogs will interact with people.

Some campers have disabilities -- but for those who don't the camp teaches them what it can be like.

Jennifer Rogers, PAALS Executive Director: "We empower them to learn about how to empathize with people with disabilities and also how to empower other people in the community."


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