BATESBURG-LEESVILLE, SC (WIS) - At one Midlands summer camp this week you'll see a lot more than you'll hear.
Camp Wonder Hands is a weeklong overnight camp for kids who are deaf or hard-of-hearing. The camp is led by Palmetto Health Children's Hospital for kids ages 7 to 15, and is held at Camp Kinard off Two Notch Road in Batesburg-Leesville.
Campers get to swim and canoe, play sports and do arts and crafts.
WIS spoke to campers with help from a sign language interpreter.
"We do so many things," said Everett Ladsen, a Camp Wonder Hands camper. "Motorcycles, we go swimming, we go canoeing, we go kayaking, we have an ice cream party which is nice. It's just fun we have a really good time together. We really enjoy it."
The camp's director said, for these kids, it's an experience unlike any other.
"One of our goals of Camp Wonder Hands is creating an environment where the campers are the majority," said E.T. Taylor, Director of Camp Wonder Hands. "Children who at other times may feel very alone and isolated… for one week, they are the majority and life is all about them and their expressive, beautiful language."
Campers told WIS they hope seeing this story will encourage people who can hear to learn sign language.
"A lot of times in the real world, we have to teach hearing people how to sign," said camper, Tife Akondke. "But here they already know it."
"I would like hearing and deaf to both be able to socialize together," said camper and counselor-in-training, Scott Williams. "I mean that would be such an easy life if all of us could understand each other."
Campers are sponsored by scholarships provided by the children's hospital and private, civic, or corporate donations.
If you'd like more information on Camp Wonder Hands, click here.