WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - There were several extra sets of feet on the dance floor Monday morning at Bitty & Beau’s Coffee.
PALS Programs, which offers camps for young adults with Down Syndrome, is hosting its first camp in the state this week on the UNCW campus.
And what better place for the camp to kick off its festivities than Bitty & Beau’s, which employs individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
“Bitty & Beau’s Coffee is thrilled to welcome Camp PALS here today," said Bitty & Beau’s founder Amy Wright. "They are an outstanding summer camp program for young adults with Down Syndrome and it’s something near and dear to our hearts because Bitty and Beau also have Down Syndrome so we look to the day they can attend Camp PALS too.”
According to PALS Program co-founder and Executive Director Jenni Newbury Ross, people traveled from as far as Montana and Chicago to take part in the camp, which pairs young adults with Down Syndrome with those without.
“It’s our belief that our programs are a phenomenal opportunity for young people with Down Syndrome to grow in independence and skills," Newbury Ross said. "But even more so it’s an attitude changing opportunity for young adults without Down Syndrome to experience the world in a new way and to grow from knowing someone who is a little different from them.
"And together we’re working to build a world of inclusion and acceptance for everyone.”
To help the camp get its first week in North Carolina off to a great start, Bitty & Beau’s held a free breakfast for the participants.
Everyone in attendance capped off the morning with a dance party, a staple of Monday mornings at the coffee shop.
“We love to dance. We love music," Wright said. "It’s a way to bring people together. The cups of coffee bring people together but when you crank up the music no one can resist jumping in and joining the dance party.”