This was the camp that almost didn't happen. Last year Junior Wheelchair Sports Camp lost it's funding. I was personally told by one of the principle funders that camp would happen in 2008. The problem was that the major funders didn't like who the campus choose to run the adaptive recreation program that ran the wheelchair camp. So, they pulled the money and the whole adaptive rec program was shut down right after camp last year. The loss of camp was so sad to me. This camp has been running every summer since 1885, two years before Evan was even born! Several of the counselors were once campers themselves. Like I said in my post here, this is just a very special one of a kind camp.
As I started to make phone calls in the Spring to see what the status of camp was it was not good. The University was looking for a group to run the camp. At one point I was told from UCSB that camp would not be happening this year.
However some very special people from Cottage Rehabilitation Hospital didn't give up. Rene Van Hoorn had been very involved with camp the last several years helping in the pool and helping her husband who was the former director. Along with Libby Whaley they became Co-Directors. With funding from Cottage Rehabilitation Hospital, Rehabilitation Hospital Foundation and UCSB Department of Recreation camp became a reality this year.
Every year the Saturday of camp is Family Day. Three years ago family day was renamed
The Charlotte Colton Family Day in honor of a special mom who donated time, talent and energy to camp who was tragically killed. It's a day for the kids to show off the skills they have learned, for families to feel camaraderie together, and for the children to receive awards. There are always smiles and cheers and tears as counselors tell of sportsmanship shown by the campers and as campers share what their counselors have meant to them. Yesterday was no exception. I had a great time cheering for all the kids I got to know during the week. I even shed a few tears. It's amazing to look out at all the families and know they all have a story and have had some difficult challenges to face. But, here we are just having fun together. It's just an amazing camp and I'm so grateful that Evan and our family have been able to be a small part of it.
I hope you got to see some of the pictures taken by a volunteer here.
Below are some of the pictures I took at camp.
"The group photo" taken the first day of camp. The campers are in the front with the colorful shirts (there are 35 of them), the volunteers are in the back with the light blue shirts and the counselors and staff have the grey shirts. Can you see Evan, Mike and I?? Mike and I are hiding.
These are just two of my favorite counselors Cynthia and Bill. They are both very remarkable people.
Evan's group "The Yellow Chargers"!!! Would you believe Evan was the oldest in his group???
Here is the Yellow Charger cheer!!
"We are the Yellow Chargers,
Watch your toes!!
We've got power,
Watch us roll!!
This year for the first time they had a group that had a counselor and all the kids who are power wheelchair users. I thought their cheer fit the group perfect!! Guess what sport they had the most fun playing?? If you guessed power wheelchair soccer, you were right!!
Evan getting his award from Bill!!