Making A Difference | Sunny Day Camp
Corporal Samantha Minnucci is bringing Sunny Day Camp to Central PA. Her brother, Gabriel Minnucci, has an intellectual disability and is thankful that his sister started a police day camp for people like him.
While stationed in Chester County, Corp. Minnucci was involved with Cadet Camp. She said, "My little brother Gabriel was always there helping me set up, take down before and after the event and he always would express how much he loved Camp Cadet and how he couldn't wait to do that one week event."
Cadet Camp is not designed for people with disabilities, so Corp. Minnucci went to her commanding officers about her idea to have a one day camp for people with special needs - and Sunny Day Camp was born.
Now stationed at the academy in Hershey, Corp. Minnucci is bringing Sunny Day Camp to Central PA in two weeks. The hope is it will take off across Pennsylvania and also be successful in teaching future troopers the importance of all six of the state police core values; honor, service, integrity, respect, courage, and duty.
Captain Jonathan Mays said, "Among those are service and respect. And that's service for any member of the public. So, in having this event here at the academy, that's 193 future troopers who will get to interact with members of our community that have needs unlike others."
One of the reasons why Corp. Minnucci started Sunny Day Camp is so folks like her brother with special needs can enjoy some of the same things that everybody can, and maybe even learn a little in the process.
Corp Minnucci said, "When it comes to the uniform it could be intimidating or on television some of the shows that you see or video games it gives children or adults the wrong idea of what we do for a living. And, we wanted to break that and have them come and be comfortable to have a bond with us and spend the day learning what we do and just get to enjoy it."
In regards to her brother and others with special needs, Corporal Minnucci is vocal - something she says all troopers strive to be. She said, "Far too often, I’ve seen that they've been left out and it is not fair and they need to be advocates to stand for him and that we do at state troopers. We stand up for those who can't stand up for themselves."
Sunny Day Camp is Saturday, September 9th from 9am to 3:30pm at the State Police Academy in Hershey.
There will be a K-9 unit, helicopter, vehicles, games, music, bomb squad and the campers will be able to handcuff troopers too.
It's free with lunch and snacks provided, but please register at www.sunnydaycamp.org.
Sunny Day Camp is now at 6 sites in PA.