SANFORD, Maine –As Maine approaches the dog days of summer, Waban’s program participants are beating the heat down by the campus’ waterfront on Bauneg Beg Lake—enjoying activities like swimming, boating, fishing, and more!
Members from across Waban’s programs, both children and adults alike, have flocked to the waterfront, a place thousands of individuals with disabilities have enjoyed since the establishment of Camp Waban in 1966. Waban’s waterfront is entirely handicap accessible, offering a shallow wading area, a wheelchair-accessible dock, and is staffed with a fully-certified lifeguard. It also has a handicap accessible bathhouse which was renovated in 2009. This lakeside area is the only waterfront in southern Maine designed for individuals with developmental, intellectual, and other disabilities.
Waban hosted a waterfront kickoff event on Saturday, July 13 to celebrate the opening season. Program participants and staff gathered lakeside to enjoy the sun and take advantage of all the waterfront has to offer. Ralph Desjardins, a longtime Residential Manager for Waban, attended the kick off and maintains an active presence at the waterfront, both on and off the clock. He can often be spotted at the water on his days off grilling and swimming with participants.
“Our residents find so much joy in spending time down by the water,” said Desjardins. “By having this waterfront, the folks we serve are able to enjoy Maine summers with ease— allowing them to participate in activities like learning to fish, swimming, and cruising on the boat, which they may not be able to do otherwise.”
Desjardins also noted that, “time spent at the waterfront is something Waban staff look forward to as well. It is truly a place our employees and program participants cherish.”
Waban’s waterfront is open to program participants and staff Tuesday through Saturday. Swimming is a fan favorite, whether it be wading in the shallow area or braving the swim to the floating dock, all under the watchful eye of a trained lifeguard. Fishing poles are also available for those interested in catching bass or trout. Additionally, Waban supplies kayaks, canoes, and a pontoon boat for exploring Bauneg Beg Lake.
“I am so proud we are able to keep the tradition of the waterfront alive here at Waban,” said Neal Meltzer, Waban’s executive director. “Supporting these summer activities encourages inclusion and normalization for folks with intellectual, development, and other disabilities, which is integral to ensuring they meet their full potential in life.”