The Norman Transcript


May 19, 2013

J.D. McCarty Center hosts open house for Camp ClapHans



Greg Nelson, an Edmond resident in attendance at the open house with his 12-year-old daughter, Emily, said Emily is excited to attend the first week of camp June 9-14. Though he’s a little nervous, Nelson said he hopes Emily learns some valuable lessons.

“Some independence,” Nelson said. “Right now, she has a tendency to try and get us to do everything for her. I think this will be good for her for learning accountability and responsibility.”

As for Emily, she has no fears. On her mind: bunk beds, movie night, new friends and archery.

For many campers, Bardin said camp will be an opportunity to gain important life experiences.

“If a kid is willing to get in the canoe for the first time — if they’re willing to try that, who knows what they’ll be willing to try beyond that? So it’s kind of just building confidence, too,” she said. “And for the families it gives them a chance to send their child to a place and know their child is going to be taken care of and know that they’re having fun.”

The idea for the camp developed in 1995 when J.D. McCarty Center officials discussed options on how to reach more children with disabilities in the summer months when they are out of school and not receiving therapeutic services, Bardin said. Officials broke ground on the camp October 2008.

The camp is named in honor of the late Sammy Jack Claphan, a former University of Oklahoma football player and alumna with a special education degree. Claphan later played in the NFL for the Cleveland Browns and the San Diego Chargers. After retiring from the NFL, he returned to Oklahoma and became a special education teacher. He died in 2001.

The center is a state agency and a specialized pediatric rehab hospital for children from birth to age 21. The center provides medical care and physical, occupational, speech and language therapy for children on an inpatient and outpatient basis.

Twelve remaining spots for girl campers still are available. Camp registration ends Friday. The cost to attend one of the six weeklong camps in June and July is $325. Scholarships are available. To register, call 307-2814 or email

For more information on Camp ClapHans, visit For more on J.D. McCarty Center, visit

Hannah Cruz



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