Rowan-Cabarrus Community College occupational therapy assistants work with campers at Wings of Eagles Ranch

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CONCORD, North Carolina (WBTV) – From RCCC: Students in the Occupational Therapy Assistant (OTA) program at Rowan-Cabarrus Community College worked with campers at Wings of Eagles Ranch in Concord this summer as part of a clinical field work rotation. The non-profit ranch’s Adventure II Camp serves children and teens with special needs, as well as typically developing campers.

The students helped the campers with activities such as horseback riding, ziplining, canoeing, rock climbing, and arts and crafts. As camp counselors, they were matched one-on-one with campers with a variety of special needs including autism, cerebral palsy and spina bifida.

“Having the Rowan-Cabarrus OTA students here has been beneficial to both the campers and the ranch. We rely solely on volunteers to support our summer camps, ”said Christine Cronin, Founder and Executive Director of Wings of Eagles. “For the students, the camp provided the opportunity to work with a variety of medical issues. “

Students were able to apply the information and skills learned in the classroom to this non-traditional fieldwork experience helping people with various disabilities, and some said they were inspired to continue volunteering at Wings of Eagles and similar community settings.

“My favorite part was the education and training in therapeutic riding, as well as the high ropes,” said student Crystal McNeely. “Watching the children overcome obstacles that scared them, or in which they lacked confidence, was very rewarding. “

Classmate Amber Auayang agrees, “It gave me new ideas about what children are capable of when they have those who are willing to make it possible.”

The OTA students participating in the camp experience with McNeely and Auayang were Dana Barnhardt, Anna Humphrey, Rachael Jordan, Ashlynn McDonald, Catherine Neblett and Ashley Purser.

Rowan-Cabarrus and Wings of Eagles hope to continue their partnership to provide more opportunities for students to do fieldwork with the nonprofit agency. Students typically engage in the field in a variety of community settings, including traditional sites such as outpatient clinics, home care, acute care, inpatient rehabilitation, skilled nursing facilities, independent living centers and schools, and non-traditional sites such as pediatric day camps, homeless programs, drug and alcohol rehabilitation centers, special schools, day programs for the elderly and programs for people with brain injuries.

“We are delighted to begin what we hope will be a lasting partnership between the College and Wings of Eagles, giving our students a chance to learn valuable skills and campers the opportunity to benefit from one-on-one care and assistance. Said Dr Carol S. Spalding, President of Rowan-Cabarrus.

For more information on Wings of Eagles Ranch, please visit www.wingsofeagles.org. For more information on Rowan-Cabarrus Community College, please visit www.rccc.edu or call 704-216-RCCC (7222).

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