Arc holds annual summer festival

Photo of Emily Petsko
by Emily Petsko
Staff writer
Emily Petsko / Observer-Reporter
Joe Maisto, residential programs specialist with Arc, talks to Quintin Weismantle, 8, of Washington, inside the bounce house. Order a Print

Wayne Weismantle watched his son grow and flourish through his participation in a summer camp for children and young adults with developmental disabilities.

Quintin Weismantle, 8, of Washington, was unable to talk when he first started attending the camp, organized by Arc Human Services, at age 5. “He couldn’t speak at all,” Weismantle said of his son, “and just being around all the people and stuff, he just started talking one day when he came home.”

Now, Quintin is talking in full sentences. And Friday, he had a blast jumping in a bounce house during Arc’s annual festival celebrating the final day of summer camp.

Participants ages 6 to 21 came to enjoy food, music, dancing, face painting and a dunk tank. E. James Settembrino, director of Arc, said it also was a chance for others to learn about the services Arc provides to assist and empower individuals with disabilities.

“We just like to share all of our experiences and activities with the community,” he said.

Lauren Rose, activities director, said participants went swimming, did therapeutic arts and crafts activities, played sports and heard from special guest presenters during the seven-week camp.

She said they also took field trips to Snapology’s Discovery Center, Carnegie Science Center and Meadowcroft Rockshelter.

But aside from the activities, she said the transformation of the children during camp is most amazing to watch. She said one mother approached her and said her son didn’t want to leave.

“She had her son come for the first four weeks, and whenever she picked him up, he cried, and that’s never happened,” Rose said. “He’s very quiet. I guess he opened up a lot in the first couple weeks, so she actually came and asked how we could get him to come the remainder of the summer.”