A week-long camp experience in Alabama for individuals & families with disabilities that marks the beginning of a lasting community grown from the disabilities in us all.
After surviving a near-fatal brainstem stroke in 2008, we were left with a bittersweet "new normal" – living a miraculous second chance but also living with long-term, life-changing disabilities.
At first, I didn't want to be the "miracle girl in the wheelchair", but after years of ministering with all kinds of hurting people, I found my external disabilities were a bridge to those with "invisible wheelchairs". I came to see there is a deeper, universal reality that we are all disabled – unable to do life without God or each other.
In 2014, we were the speakers at a camp for families with disabilities where we had a profound revelation that though we were on stage we could just have easily been campers. These were our people. We uniquely understood their struggles, and we could be a voice for this voiceless population, the largest minority group in the world.
Our story of disability is hard but good. We’ve been able to flourish within these constraints because of the spiritual resources and communal support we were given. Sadly, our story is the exception, not the norm. Most individuals and families affected by disability are struggling to live in a world not made for them...isolated, lonely, despairing.
We want to help change that and hope it forward by giving to those in need from all we have been given.
We can grow stronger together through disability.
And we want you to join us!
If you or your family member have a disability of any kind, you are invited to participate as a camper. This includes:
Applications will be available on January 10, 2018 on hopehealscamp.org. Spots will be assigned on a first come, first served basis. A Hope Heals Camp team member will be in contact with your family within a month of application.
Once the limited number of camper spots are filled, we will start a waiting list.
Hope Heals Camp is free for families and individuals affected by disability. You are only responsible for the cost of travel to and from camp. We ask that campers pay a $100 deposit per party to secure their spot. It will be refunded if you do not come to camp.
Hope Heals Camp will be a week of fellowship, encouragement, rest, learning, worship, prayer, and lots of fun. Camp begins Monday afternoon and ends Friday morning, and in the time between, you'll enjoy time together as a family as well as free time while your loved one is cared for by a "Compassionate Companion". Classic camp activities, a talent show, women’s spa time, a pool party, family photo sessions, and a huge banquet celebration are just a few of the things to look forward to during Camp.
Adults will have the opportunity to commune, commiserate, and celebrate with men and women walking a similar road while kids, teens, and young adults build a community of their own with safe and age-appropriate activities and programming. Daily messages from Jay and Katherine, quiet times of reflection, small group discussions, and worship sessions with renowned musical guests will refuel and rejuvenate you for the journey ahead.
Our Compassionate Companions (CCs) will serve as your loved one's buddy at Camp and will accompany your camper to programming and free-time activities. All CCs are not responsible for medical care or toileting.
CCs will be paired with campers based on age and gender. All CCs are over 18 and have been vetted through an application process and background check. We understand that all campers have unique situations and some may not desire to be paired with a buddy. Please email email@example.com if you have special pairing requests or needs.
A registered nurse will be present at both weeks of Camp to address any non-emergent medical needs.
Week One, Camp ASCCA - Most campers will be staying in hotel-style rooms (with private bathroom) with their family members.
Week Two Camp McDowell - Most campers will be staying in hotel-style rooms (with private bathroom) with their family members.
Modest, comfortable warm weather clothing Medication and special foods Medical equipment Bible, notebook, and pen Bug spray and sunscreen Hat or cap Comfortable walking shoes and water shoes Modest bathing suits Beach towels Toiletries Cameras, phones, and chargers
Both weeks of camp will end by noon on Friday.
We welcome all who feel called to serve as companions to those struggling with disability. Individuals over 18 can serve on their own and families can serve together with their children. Depending on their age, volunteer kids under 18 may serve as "Companions-In-training" or attend kids programming alongside the campers, For more info about serving with a student group email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Applications will be available on January 10, 2018 on hopehealscamp.org. You must complete the full application, submit the background check, and pay the $100 deposit per party to be considered to serve at Camp. A Hope Heals Camp team member will be in contact with you within a month of application. Deposits become NON-REFUNDABLE after May 1.
BY APRIL 1, 2018: Adults over the age of 18 - $500 | Kids under 18 - $250
BY MAY 1, 2018 (final deadline): Adults over the age of 18 - $600 | Kids under 18 - $350
Camp fees are capped at $1500 ($1800 after April 1, 2018) regardless of how many family members you bring. All fees are due before Camp.
Volunteers will have access to online fundraising tools with which you can engage your networks to crowdfund your camp fees.
Compassionate Companions ("CCs") - the majority of volunteers will serve as companions paired up with campers (families or individuals with disabilities) to encourage and walk alongside them during the week of camp and beyond. CCs will be trained and equipped to serve but will NOT be tasked with medical or personal aid for those with disabilities (eg. toileting or medicine). "CCs" will be intentionally paired with campers who live in proximity to them so as to continue in relationship after the week of camp ends.
Camp Crew - ("CREW") these volunteers WILL stay the entire week of camp and will aid in the executing of the camp activities but will not be assigned to specific campers.
Day Volunteer - these volunteers WILL NOT stay the entire week of camp but rather will only come to serve for specific activities.
All volunteers will receive weekly training emails in the two months leading up to Camp. You are expected to read these emails in order to come to Camp prepared to serve. Volunteers will also participate in an orientation on the Sunday they arrive at Camp.
Week One, Camp ASCCA - Most volunteers will stay in Camp ASCCA's dorm-style cabins with community bathrooms. Camp ASCCA will provide sheets, pillows, and towels.
Week Two Camp McDowell - Most volunteers will stay in Camp McDowell's dorm-style, air-conditioned cabins with shared bathrooms. Camp McDowell doesn't provide linens, so you'll bring your own sheets, pillows, and towels.
Modest, comfortable warm weather clothing Medication and/or special foods Bible, notebook, and pen Bug spray and sunscreen Hat or cap Comfortable walking shoes and water shoes Modest bathing suits Beach towels Toiletries Cameras, phones, and chargers Twin-sized sheets, sleeping bag, pillow, and towels (Week 2 only)
Both weeks of camp will end by noon on Friday.
Persons with disability in the world have the highest rates of the following unemployment, suicide, homelessness, divorce, and abuse.
One billion people in the world live with a disability.
20% of the U.S. population is disabled, making it the largest minority group.
Those with disabilities are the largest unchurched people group.
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