This morning we headed out to Camp Courageous of Iowa, a year-round respite and recreational facility and a very special place in the hearts of many.
Camp Courageous was founded in 1972 when forty acres of land was donated for the sole purpose of establishing a camp for the disabled. In 1973 five buildings were built from donated labor and materials. By 1974 the camp was ready for its first campers, which totaled 211. Today the camp is open year-round, has over 150 acres of land with 14 buildings, and annually serves over 5,000 campers, ranging in age from 1 to 105. [Camp Courageous]
Today we met with staff, talked about social media (check out their blog or follow them on Twitter) and learned more about the great work Camp is doing. We then got a tour of some of the facilities (mostly the indoor ones since it’s darn cold outside).
Most of the amenities, supplies, buildings, and even the miniature train/railway were donated. “Camp Courageous was built and continues to operate on donations, without government assistance, without formal sponsorship, and without paid fund-raisers.” [History]
Camp Courageous is for anyone with a disability (“vision, mental, physical and other disabilities are typical of the individuals served.”) It’s run by staff and volunteers who keep things running smoothly and most of all, make sure that every camper is cared for and has the time of their life – from swimming, canoeing, accessible playgrounds, farm animals, pets, arts, and the celebration of each unique individual that comes by.
Having spent many summers at camp in BC when I was younger as a camper and volunteer, I know that the effects a facility like this can have on a child are pretty remarkable.
If you’re looking for a non-profit to support, please check out Camp Courageous of Iowa, whether you’d like to contribute funds, equipment, in-kind donations, sponsorships, or simply your time.
The rest of my photos from Camp can be found in my Flickr set.