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A popular experience during the summer is attending camps. Boone County Family Resources support coordinators can connect individuals to sleep-away and day-camps designed and to meet the specific needs of the participant.
Wonderland Camp, located at the Lake of the Ozarks, has been operating since 1969 and is a popular annual destination for many persons served by BCFR. Campers can attend starting at age six through adulthood. For Jon, age 43, Wonderland Camp has been a summer tradition for almost 30 years. “Jon’s whole world revolves around attending camp,” says Pat, Jon’s mother. “We talk about it for months before he goes and for months after he comes home. He loves just about everything about it.” Jon’s been attending for so many years that long-time camp staffers are like family to him.
Pat says that Wonderland Camp is like Jon’s summer vacation. “He doesn’t like to travel outside of going to camp, so family vacations never really were something he enjoyed. His time at camp is very special to him. This is his time to reunite with old friends and have fun.” Pat says camp also is a good time for her to have some down time as well. “I miss him terribly, but I know he is having a great time at camp and is being well cared-for.” When asked what his favorite thing about camp is, Jon says the boat ride. Pat says he also enjoys swimming and getting dressed up for the dance.
Camp Barnabas, a Christian-based summer camp located in Purdy, MO, opened in 1996 and has camps for kids as young as seven through adulthood. Sarah, age 40, has been attending a week-long camp there since 1997. “I can’t say enough good things about Camp Barnabas,” says Sarah’s mother, Jeanie. “It has been a great experience for Sarah over the years. I would recommend it to everyone.” The camp offers many of the typical summer camp adventures such as canoeing, swimming and a fully accessible ropes course. Jeanie says that Sarah’s favorite part about camp is making new friends. “She’s kept in touch with some of her camp counselors as well as friends she’s made at camp. It’s always fun to meet up with some of them during state-wide Special Olympics events,” says Jeanie. “Sarah also loves the evening themed parties. In fact, she was just working on her costumes for this year’s camp.” In addition to the evening themes (“Tacky Traveler” and “Follow the Yellow Brick Road”), there is also a dance on the final night of camp where everyone gets dressed up. “Sarah enjoys her time away from home while she’s at camp. She has gained a lot of independence and prides herself on being the first camper up each morning so she can help others who may need assistance getting ready for the day.”
There are several summer camp options for individuals with disabilities living in Missouri. Some camps are specific to certain conditions such a limb difference or spina bifida, and there are camps related to special interests like sports or horseback riding. BCFR support coordinators can help research and find the best option for people interested in attending a summer camp.