Camp Barnabas: Enlarging the Spirit, Encouraging the Heart by Rachel Ison


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Camp Barnabas: Enlarging the Spirit, Encouraging the Heart by Rachel Ison

  1. 1. Camp Barnabas: Enlarging the Spirit, Encouraging the Heart Rachel Ison: Centre College Camp Barnabas is a place like no other. It is a camp that offers acceptance and love to more than 1,500 campers with special needs and chronic diseases and their siblings. Through adaptive activities, people with physical, intellectual, and/or medical challenges become participants, not observers, in the world around them. They leave Camp Barnabas knowing that they are uniquely created to live lives of ability. This summer, I th to August 8th, to be one of the individuals which aided in making this formative experience possible. was given the opportunity, from May 24 Summer Enrichment Goals •Better understand what “special needs” truly encompasses The Schedule •Work for this success and love of the campers, suppressing all personal motives •Show the campers that they are unconditionally loved and uniquely created to accomplish amazing things Camp is broken up into 8 terms, each one serving a specific population of individuals with special needs. Each term consists of CIA (Christians-in-action) arrival day, camper arrival day, 5 days of camp, and closing day. Between terms, the staff gets 24 hours off to prepare for the next term. • Listen and learn from the campers The Extreme Team Terms 1. Adult Friends: Ages 18 – 45 with intellectual/developmental disabilities and/or autism 2. Challenge: Ages 7 – 15 with ohysical disabilities 3. Young Friends: Ages 7- 15 with developmental disabilities and/or autism 4. Adventurers: Ages 16 – 35 with physical disabilities and those with developmental disabilities requiring a wheelchair or walker 5. Heroes: Ages 16 – 25 with developmental disabilities and/or autism What does it mean to be extreme? The Campers At Camp Barnabas, everything is for the campers. The campers are individuals from all walks of life that have specials needs. The needs which are met, range from Cerebral Palsy to severe ADHD and Downs Syndrome, and include anything everything in between. The goal of Camp Barnabas is to show each of these individuals that not only are they are unconditionally loved, but that they also do not have to conform to the limitations society has put on them. In doing this, the staff resolutely pursues activities that push the limits of what the outside world says is impossible for these incredible people who are the campers. They take every summer camp activity apart and put it back in a way that is doable for anyone who wants to participate – no matter what limitations are placed on them outside the camp grounds. Things like a high ropes course, canoeing, and swimming. As a member of the Extreme Team, I was expected to work hard...and play hard! Besides facilitating some of the most favored places on camp; the ropes course, pool, and multiple camp sites, the team was tasked with the additional responsibility of running all of the great parties! Working alongside thirteen other members truly taught me teamwork and blessed me with thirteen new best friends. 6. Soaring Hawks: Ages 7 – 25 (Blind: Ages 7 – 35) with Asperger’s, blind, chronic diseases or deaf/hearing impaired 7. Bridge Builders: Ages 7 – 18 with developmental disabilities, autism and/or physical disabilities 8. Champions: Ages 7 – 15 with developmental disabilities, autism, and/or physical disabilities Want to help these amazing individuals? It all starts at! Volunteer a week of you summer and be paired one-onone with a camper, or make a donation on the webpage.