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A Happy CAMPer

Caleb Thompson was just eight years old he was introduced to CAMP.   His mom D’Anne Thompson describes feeling a little apprehensive that first year when she came to drop Caleb off.  “It was a little difficult, but after ten minutes I realized how freeing CAMP is for the kids and their families,” D’Anne said.

This year Caleb enjoyed an adventurous week at CAMP with counselor/friend Sierra Cantu.  He participated in activities including swimming, horseback riding, and hiking.  Cantu kept notes about Caleb’s adventures in his CAMP memory book.  His mom D’Anne was surprised to find out that Caleb also enjoyed going on a scavenger hunt.  “That was a new adventure for him!”

For families like the Thompsons—CAMP is a magical place.  “It’s one thing to say, ‘Lets create a place for kids with special needs, where there are no barriers to having the same kind of fun and adventure that typical children take for granted,’ but it’s another thing to actually do it,” said Caleb’s dad, David Thompson, PhD.  “And CAMP does it well!”

Caleb and his dad share a strong bond evidenced by Dad’s beaming smile as he  rounded the corner of the CAMP Night Activity Pavilion to reunite with his son.  From that point on, the two were inseparable, sharing embraces and speaking in special terms of endearment.  Within five minutes, they were already making plans to visit a local burger joint upon their return home.

Caleb’s parents agree that the CAMP experience is enriching for their son in many ways.  “CAMP gives Caleb  a chance to enjoy independence, try new things, and make new friends,” said D’Anne.  “But, CAMP is also enriching for our whole family.”

“So often Caleb is front and center because of his medical needs,” explains David, “so we appreciate CAMP because it gives us a chance to reconnect with Caleb’s sister, Rachel, who is seven years older.” That first year they were able to  take Rachel on a beach vacation.  “It felt good, as a parent, to be able to focus on her for a while.”

“And it’s great, because Caleb loves CAMP, so at the end of the week all of us are recharged,” said D’Anne.

“It is hard to imagine everything that has to come together to make a place like CAMP possible,” said David.  “From the young people who give up their summers to serve kids like our son, to the health care volunteers, to the generous donors who support CAMP, we are so grateful.  Knowing that CAMP exists makes us believe that anything is possible!”

For more information on CAMP programs or to support CAMP’s mission to strengthen and inspire individuals with special needs—and those who care for them—through Recreation, Respite and Education click the Home tab above.