Long time summer camp could be a victim of state budget cuts - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Long time summer camp could be a victim of state budget cuts

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Camp Harkness in Waterford. (WFSB) Camp Harkness in Waterford. (WFSB)

As lawmakers continue to seek ways to balance a ballooning state budget deficit, a long-time summer camp may be on the chopping block.

Camp Harkness in Waterford may be a victim of the gap, according to its workers.

Nestled inside a state park on Long Island Sound, organizers called the camp a unique experience.

For decades, it's been a summer escape for children with disabilities.

"It's an opportunity to have a normalized childhood experience, going to camp and having a social, positive, interactive recreational opportunity," said Kitty Stalsburg, executive director of High Hopes.

High Hopes has been partnering with the camp for the last five years. It brings therapeutic horses for the children to enjoy.

Officials told Eyewitness News that every year thousands of people benefit from the programs that are run at the camp.

Now, funding is at risk.

"It's very disappointing for us to think that our activities there are being jeopardized by budget cuts and our ability to help so many people who would benefit from therapeutic riding," Stalsburg said.

The Department of Developmental Services said it is reviewing options that would mitigate the impact to campers.

Rep. Kathleen McCay said she will fight to keep the camp open.

Nothing is a done deal yet, but if the current proposal passes, the ax could fall as soon as this summer.

"Just go out and see how the kids enjoy it and how much they get out of it," said Susan Snyder. It's a good program. It's a wonderful program."

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