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MOVE TO INCLUDE is a partnership between WXXI and the Golisano Foundation designed to promote inclusion for people with intellectual and physical disabilities. Through programming and special events, WXXI and the Golisano Foundation look to build a more inclusive community by inspiring and motivating people to embrace different abilities and include all people in every aspect of community life.

‘This is a wonderland’: On ADA anniversary, Hochul visits Sunshine Camp

Racquel Stephen
New York Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul enjoys a tour of Rochester Rotary's Sunshine Campus in the town of Rush on the anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

As a line of golf carts wound their way around the Sunshine Camp in Rush on Monday, Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul stopped and got out so she could take in the view from the camp's new treehouse.

"This is incredible," Hochul said after walking up a ramp and making her way to the treehouse's large deck.

She was visiting the camp for children with disabilities on the Americans with Disabilities Act's 31st anniversary.

The law prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities, particularly by employers, and enforces accessibility features in public spaces.

Later, Hochul talked about what she saw at the camp, which is operated by Rochester Rotary.

“This is a wonderland. I was expecting a more rustic camp,” Hochul said. “The accommodations here are first-rate. Really, truly world-class.”

The 157-acre campground can accommodate up to 3,000 camp-goers annually and features a climbing wall, a swimming pool, a zip line, a new playground and a sensory center.

“It's a place of new beginnings, it's a place of hope," Hochul said. "It's a place of recharging for children and people of all ages with special needs, and their families.” 

Hochul said the nation has come a long way when dealing with matters of inclusion, but the COVID-19 pandemic revealed room for a lot of improvements.

“What is the future of remote work? What opportunities does this create for people with disabilities to be able to do even more jobs?” she asked.

She said more needs to be done on several fronts, including employment and transportation issues. 

This story is reported from WXXI’s Inclusion Desk

Racquel Stephen is a health and environment reporter. She holds a bachelor's degree in English literature from the University of Rochester and a master's degree in broadcasting and digital journalism from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University.