“All the kiddos are so unique. You’ve really just gotta roll with the punches, adapt on the go. It’s that kind of thinking that makes this successful,” Cottrell said.
Sometimes it’s not all about the activities they get to participate in though. Returning camper Zach Wright of Edmond said the thing he enjoys the most is getting to be with everybody. Cottrell said he sees friendships develop in a very organic way when the children come together at the camp.
Amanda Gold, a unit leader at the camp this year, said one of the most rewarding things for her was seeing the changes in the children. She remembered a boy at the beginning of the week that was very shy and homesick, but by the end of the week he was beaming and talking with everyone, she said.
After Gold volunteered at the camp last year she said it changed her life. She was attending college not really knowing what she wanted to do and the experience inspired her to go into Special Education.
“They shine so bright,” Gold said. “They’re amazing kids and I’m just so glad I could meet them.”
After the first year, there were some changes made to shorten the length of time at the camp, which was five nights and six days. It is now four days and three nights. Cottrell said for many of the campers it is their first time away from home and they had difficulties with homesickness.
It also helps when many of the staff are volunteers and get a little more of a break since they are spending all day and night with the children. The camp will serve a total of 60 children this summer with 12 children (6 girls and 6 boys) attending the camp every week for five weeks.
For more information about Camp ClapHans visit campclaphans.com.
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