News 4 Buffalo

Laughs come back to Cradle Beach Camp after 675 days without kids

ANGOLA, N.Y. (WIVB) — The first week of summer camp is underway at Cradle Beach Camp in Angola after 675 days without kids. In 2020, there were no laughs or splashes in the pool at the camp that’s situated on the shores of Lake Erie.

“It feels kind of kind of good because I’m out in the open, I don’t have to be at home all the time behind a computer,” Dillon Cote-Miller said, a camper. “I get to see people in person. Things have started to get back to normal and I’ve been able to see my friends.”

“It’s a lot of fun here, I get to meet a lot of friends and I get to hang out with them and do a lot of activities,” said Tali Tojek-Acebedo, another camper.

Dillon Cote-Miller and Tali Tojek-Acebedo have come back to Cradle Beach Camp for their third time. Tali comes with his little brother, Aiden, who is deaf. Aiden communicates well, but the kids in his cabin have spent their first few days there wanting to learn basic sign language.

The camp empowers kids to be their best. It focuses on children with special needs and the underserved, but all are welcome. There’s a high ratio of counselors to kids, and nurses are on staff at all times. Campers stay there 7 to 10 days overnight.

The camp is currently operating below capacity, but staff and campers are just happy to be back after a year when many children struggled greatly behind a screen and without much socialization.

“It’s a really fun place to be,” Cote-Miller said. “It helps me get away from the tv (and) I make new friends. And the pool is open. I haven’t been in the pool for awhile.”

There are five camp sessions this year, lasting through the end of August, and they are still hiring counselors and nurses for the summer. For more information on Cradle Beach Camp, click here.

Kelsey Anderson is an award-winning anchor and reporter who has been part of the News 4 team since 2018. See more of her work here.