Cindy Lu Edgerton won't forget how emotional she became watching Payton Schofield walk through a set of doors at last year's Eric "RicStar" Winter Music Therapy Camp.
"I immediately started crying and ran up to her, hugging her and welcoming her," said Edgerton, co-director of the Michigan State University's Music Therapy Clinical Services.
Three years ago Schofield stood for the first time. She, along with the others campers, held themselves up with a large multi-colored fabric covered rubber band and particpated in a "movin' to the beat" activity together.
"Her mom took an entire roll of pictures," Edgerton said.
A year later, in 2005, Payton moved from activity to activity with the help of a walker. But during last year's camp, Payton, 6, walked through the doors without help.
Stories like Payton's are plentiful at the Music Therapy Camp, a place where all people can unite to make music and celebrate their individual abilities. The camp honors 12-year-old Eric Winter, a seven-year music therapy client from DeWitt who had cerebral palsy and passed away in 2003.
Those with and without special needs write songs, sing, dance, play handchimes, soak in guest performances, pet therapy dogs and make new pals. The 2007 camp will again include the popular My Chance to Dance classes from the CC Plus Studio in Clinton Township.
"The campers are working on their communication, socialization, gross and fine motor skills while having fun," Edgerton said. "The Eric RicStar Winter Music Therapy Camp provides the campers, their siblings and the Buddy-Ups opportunities to celebrate what they can do."
The camp offers volunteer opportunities for the teen Buddy-Up Group, which pairs adolescents without special needs with campers, and the Mentor-Volunteer Group, which connects successful adults with special needs with adult campers as models of ability. Volunteers are always needed. If interested contact Cindy Lu Edgerton via e-mail at [email protected] or call (517) 353-6426.
Eric RicStar Winter Music Therapy Camp
Community Music School
841 Timberlane, East Lansing
www.msucms.org or www.judywinter.com