Camp Barnabas

There's this great camp back home called Camp Barnabas. It's this great place that caters to kids with special needs in southwest Missouri.

Camp Barnabas exists to offer childhood experiences to kids who have been robbed of them by disease or disability. These kids need to shift their focus away from sterile medical environments and the language of their illness to focus anew on activities that build their courage and expand their belief in themselves. Many of the children with special needs endure unthinkable pain and isolating treatment for illnesses such as cancer, hemophilia, spina bifida, muscular dystrophy, cystic fibrosis, cerebal palsy and AIDS. Their need for acceptance is overwhelming!

Each summer, Camp Barnabas provides encouragement for literally hundreds of campers, empowering them to live more fully through faith. This spiritual gift of encouragement, the hallmark of Barnabas, one of the least known of Christ’s latter disciples, helps campers face and challenge their disability or illness with courage.

Basically, it's summer camp, but each term is a week filled with activities directed at a specific population. For example, if you are a cancer patient, when you go to camp, all the other kids will also be cancer patients. They also separate them by ages so the attendees are among peers. I know about it because MG, my former autistic client, went to autism week. Each attendee has their own staff person that keeps in touch with them afterward to help with the transition back into a world where not everyone is afflicted with the same condition. All the activities take into account any special needs without making the children feel like they need something "extra". For example, instead of a kid being "special" because they are in a wheelchair, everyone around them is in wheelchairs or has artificial limbs or something similar. Instead of being in a situation where a child can't do something because they have cystic fibrosis, they are offered only activities of which they are capable. It's an incredibly cool place.

So here's the extra cool thing: Tonight there is a 2-hour special on Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. The show is giving the founders a new house AND redoing the camp. How friggin cool!!! Everyone should be watching!

No comments: