How Special Needs Camping Has Impacted the Camp Experience

"Camping is an activity that has been embraced by humanity because it's fun and it brings people, especially families, together," said Dr. Tom Zellers, a professor of pediatric cardiology at UT Southwestern Medical Center and camp doctor. "For children with chronic illnesses, camp has often been forbidden because of the risks and physical challenges it presents. At [special needs] camps, however, children with medical problems, who are sheltered by their family and may be the only child with their type of medical problem in their family, neighborhood, or community, are brought together.

Working With Children With Special Needs

It is often said by people who mean well that working with children with special needs “requires the patience of a saint.” Not true. What it does require is human compassion — something more of us have than we seem ready to acknowledge.

Camp Greentop's Adventure Camp: We Ain't No Rudypoo's

"I'm a survivor, I'm going to make it; I'm going to work hard; I'm not going to give up. I'm a survivor, I'm going to make it. . . ."

The music from this popular song played in the background as the campers arrived at Pavilion B. We were completing the final preparations for camp . . . medical check, inventory of personal gear, packing the group gear, and saying good-bye to the parents. Little did we know that this was to become our theme song. After all, we were adventure campers. We were going to do things other people didn't think we could do.

Why Do Young People Work at Special Needs Camps?

When I first met Ed, I did not notice that he had no legs.

He sat straight up in a wheelchair with long pants that hung down over the edge. I did not, at the time, find the absence of shoes or feet at the ends of his trousers, remarkable. I did, however, stare, somewhat self-consciously, at the stumps that protruded from the short sleeves of his fire engine red shirt. They were the size of a child's football and had no digits. He used them to propel his wheelchair by leaning forward and pushing on the rubber tires of the big wheels that rose above his seat.