Children’s Association for Maximum Potential (CAMP) is a camp that serves individuals with mild to severe disabilities. CAMP came about when, in 1979, a group of U.S. Air Force doctors took 32 children with medical needs for a weekend camp.
Those first campers were not accepted to attend other camps due to their medical needs or other disabilities. After that first weekend, CAMP took the next step. In 1980, CAMP became a nonprofit. They rented camps for the first 10 years. In 1990, CAMP bought an old church camp in Center Point, Texas. The bones were there for it to become the first-rate facility it is today.
CAMP offers a full range of camping fun. Campers swim, ride horses, practice archery and shooting. Canoeing and arts and crafts round out the fun. Doctors and other staff from around the country volunteer their time to the campers.
High school students train to become counselors. They support campers to join in all activities. Many of these trained volunteers are inspired to pursue work in the field of disabilities, special education, or in medical professions.
CAMP also provides volunteer work for students with learning disabilities. Teenagers 14 and above with labels such as high-functioning autism or ADHD might serve as trained camp counselors. They gain experience that will serve them later as adults.
CAMP also has a camp for siblings of kids with disabilities. They play and bond with each other. They enjoy all camp activities while spending time with their sibs.
CAMP offers other services during the year. Respite Club offers monthly respite weekends. Parents’ Night Out (PNO) offers childcare activities for children with disabilities and their siblings. For all ages 6 months to 13 years.
My own kids participated in CAMP. Ryan was a regular camper. Kate went as a sibling. They both loved going. Without CAMP, Ryan never could have gone to a camp.
They also attended Parent’s Night Out. That was a real treat for them and for mom and dad. For our family, Camp offered fun, safety, and great times.
My husband and I loved having time for ourselves, away from our kids. We knew they were safe and having fun. We needed the time away from them to recharge.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, we asked parents of children with disabilities and special health care needs to share their tips and stories about caring for their children during difficult times.