MILWAUKEE — Makaylah Rupcic is no stranger to Club Rec.
“I’ve been coming here for about seven years," she said as she got ready to kick a soccer ball into a net inside the Clement Avenue School gymnasium.
“We are playing some kind of soccer," she said.
Gym class is just one of several things the students get to participate in, Monday through Friday from June until early August at Club Rec, which is a summer camp geared toward kids with special needs and disabilities run by Milwaukee Recreation.
They also get to work on arts and crafts, and even have a cooking class.
They cycle through all of the daily activities in small groups.
In cooking class, they get to cook a different food item every day that relates to a bigger theme, decided by Kiara Nelson, the director and cooking teacher of Club Rec.
“This week is 'Around the World Week,' so today we are making cinnamon rolls that originated in Sweden," Nelson explained.
She supplied the dough, the butter, cinnamon and sugar, and showed the kids how to put the roll together. Then they made their own rolls, and she baked them in a toaster oven.
She’s done this for a few years now, and has taught students a lot of easy recipes — which she puts together in a cookbook so they can use at home with their families.
“I make it all visual as well as words to help the parents and the kids remember what they did," Nelson said.
While Nelson works with the young kids at Clement Avenue School, there are are four locations for Club Rec, with students ranging from 3-years-old to 21-years-old.
Nelson said she loves helping them learn that they can do things.
“I feel like at school it’s difficult for the kids to participate with the kids that are in their age group and be successful on their own," Nelson said. "Here, since it is geared toward them, they can be really successful.”