- Associated Press - Wednesday, June 18, 2014

GREENWOOD, Ind. (AP) - Sizing up her opponents, Brittany Arwine charged in for the tackle.

The 6-year-old Indianapolis girl was severely outsized by the two Center Grove High School football players standing in front of her.

But that didn’t stop her from giggling as she pushed both the older boys over into a large foam pad, then throwing her hands up in excitement.

“Yeah, we did it!” she said.

Brittany was one of 18 children from all over the Indianapolis area who traded the traditional day camp experience for the gridiron. As part of a weeklong Camp-Ability program for special needs children, Center Grove hosted a unique football camp for the kids.

Some of the children ran cone drills to show off their speed, while others threw spirals to Center Grove wide receivers streaking down the field, the Daily Journal reported (http://bit.ly/1lz5QVV ).

The kids were given their own lockers, tried on a helmet and ran onto the field through the inflatable helmet tunnel as their names were called over the loudspeaker.

“The kids do so well here,” said Joelle Samples, manager of respite services for Easter Seals Crossroads and organizer of CampAbility. “They have the ability to experience being out here with the football players, who are passionate about working with this population.”

Zoe Neal-Gibson, 8, from Fishers, let the other kids play football games. She was transfixed by the Center Grove cheerleaders.

She held black-and-red pompoms above her head, shaking them as the cheerleaders formed pyramids and formations at her direction.

When she wanted to see them jump or cheer, she pantomimed what she hoped to see.

“I don’t want to do it - you do it,” she said.

After they completed the routines, she laughed loudly, throwing her pompoms up in the air and clapping wildly.

“They’re in their element. They can run around and have fun without worrying about what they’re doing,” Samples said.

This was the second year that Center Grove had hosted the CampAbility children. The camp is aimed at kids ages 4 to 11 with a wide variety of special needs, such as Down syndrome and autism.

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