During the past few days, Moretti SpA went to the offices of the Associazione Dynamo Camp Onlus with a truck full of wheelchairs and mobility aids. A small donation for a project that is so much more than a simple holiday!

Let us discover it together, in this interview with Vito Nigro, who is Milanese by birth but lives in Tuscany, the educator and director of the Dynamo Camp.

Hello Vito! Tell us about Dynamo Camp?

Dynamo Camp is an association that offers free Recreational Therapy programs for children and teenagers from six to seventeen years of age who suffer from serious and chronic illnesses and for their families. The activities take place at the Dynamo Camp, inside the WWF-affiliated oasis in Limestre, in the province of Pistoia, and also outside the camp. We do, in fact, also take the Dynamo Camp Programs to hospitals and children’s homes in numerous Italian cities. 

Could you explain exactly what “Recreational Therapy” is?

Recreational therapy means taking part in an adventure. The “campers” arrive at the camp on their own or with their families and have the chance to “be children” in a protected and secure environment. Staying at the Camp offers the chance to share unforgettable experiences with their contemporaries and to discover their own abilities.

What activities are offered?

All the activities are provided by specialised and trained staff. We have an adventure trail with a climbing structure also accessible to wheelchair users, the only one of its kind in Italy, a heated swimming pool for therapy in water, archery, a small circus and theatre, a rap and hip hop workshop and tactile and neurosensory stimulation activities, as well as recreational therapy with farm animals and a kitchen garden.

In addition to these activities, we also have special projects outside the camp, such as:

  • Art Factory, which has helped Dynamo Camp to enter the art world.
  • Radio Dynamo, an actual recording studio and a web radio you can listen to at www.radiodynamo.it
  • Dynamo Studios, for the production of photographs, short films and videos
  • Dynamo Musical, in which the youngster can sing, dance and act

It is thanks to the “Dynamo Programs” that Dynamo Recreational Therapy is now available outside the camp as well, for children in hospital or in children’s homes in the major Italian cities.

Dynamo Alumni has also been present since 2016. This is a training program for former campers, to help them prepare for job opportunities or enjoy their hobbies.

Let us go back in time a moment. How was Dynamo Camp created?

Dynamo Camp was founded by Vincenzo Manes, the chairman and CEO of the company Intek Group SpA, after he discovered the activities of the “Serious Fun Children Network”, an organisation founded in 1988 by the actor Paul Newman, who started by organising a Camp in Connecticut.

Since then, over one million children across the globe have participated in the programs of the Serious Fun Children’s Network, of which Dynamo Camp is a member.

Summer is almost here. Who will be participating in your Camps?

Dynamo Camp is currently able to host around thirty families at a time, or around 102 youngsters in the case of Camps for campers only.

2019 is now fully booked, but I suggest anyone interested should visit our website, check the admissibility criteria and contact us to be put on the waiting list.

What is the impact of this experience on the participants?

Although the Camp started with the idea of a holiday, the campers and their families often view this experience as a turning point. Although the main reason people come to the camp is the activities it offers, the result of the experience is not linked so much to the specific abilities acquired, as to a change in perspective.

The experiences and, above all, the human relationships that are created at the camp between the campers and between their families, result in a new awareness and introduce new elements and resources to help them deal with the illness.

We have made a donation to you: our wheelchairs and mobility aids. Could you tell us how they will be used?

Your donation, particularly the wheelchairs, are extremely valuable to us in several areas. Having wheelchairs available is essential both during training and when the camps are in progress.

When we train the staff, the chance to actually handle a wheelchair helps them familiarise themselves with it and learn how to use it. This familiarity is a basic step for the trainers in their relationship with the campers and helps change their approach to them.

During the camps, on the other hand, although the campers always arrive with their own wheelchairs, an accidental breakage can mean they have to leave early. A “standby” wheelchair is an important extra help.

Thank you Vito! Do you have any advice for the parents of children with disabilities or serious illnesses?

It is not easy to give advice, even though I am an educator and I have a decade of experience of Dynamo Camp. Also, any advice I can give is obviously only the opinion of someone who is not experiencing the illness of a child first-hand as a parent.

Having said that, I would like to say one thing: children with chronic illnesses are often described as heroes, but I think it would be more correct to describe them as courageous fighters and the families who support them every day in dealing with their illness as heroes.

I would like to say two things to these “heroes”: the first is that you are not alone, living with your child’s illness is possible and others are here to assist you.

And the second?

The second is that, when the Camp is over, the parents often thank the educators. We never say “you’re welcome”, but always “thank you” in return, and this is certainly not just a formality!

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Moretti Service and Consulting è un’agenzia di comunicazione specializzata in ambito healthcare. MSC è un vero e proprio spin off aziendale, un comparto con competenze specialistiche in ambito comunicazione e marketing in grado di bilanciare le esigenze di distinzione ed innovazione che muovono la presentazione di ogni nuovo progetto con le normative e le codifiche che regolano la proposizione sul mercato di ausili e dispositivi medici.

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