SIOUX CITY, Iowa — Tucked in a valley off Correctionville Road sits a camp unique as the people it serves.
"Our whole idea is that our campers feel just like everybody else." Camp High Hopes is a place for kids and adults with disabilities, special needs and chronic illnesses to come and experience things they may not get to otherwise.
"Out in the real world, they're told no all the time. No, they can't participate in something because of their disability. No, they can't do this. No, they can't do that," said Executive Director Sarah Morgan. "But when they come to camp, we tell them yes, because we have the facilities, we have the equipment, we have the activities that are completely adapted to their ability."
"They can do the high ropes course elements and reach the top and everybody below is cheering them on," she explained about Camp. "And so they get that feeling of independence and pride and self-esteem. And again, they're feeling just like everybody else. They're feeling just like their peers who get to do this as well."
Dewey is a camper, and his mom Jamie Shufflebarger sees just how impactful camp has been for her son. "I feel really assured that he's getting the best care and that he's getting new experiences. And he's growing and learning every time he comes."
Dewey requires 24-hour care, Jamie says, something the staff at Camp High Hopes can help provide.
"So being able to bring him here in the summer for a week-long break. And then during the fall and spring for a weekend break is you know, it's relieving," Sufflebarger said. "It helps it makes me have a mental break."
With 90 acres of space for adaptive activities, there is something at Camp High Hopes for everyone.
"He really has done things here that he cannot do in any other program," Shufflebarger said, "they offer things like canoeing and the monkey tree and although he's not doing the monkey tree, we're working on things like just getting him to put the harness on things like just putting the harness on is very difficult for him."
Camp High Hopes is made possible by donations and fundraisers with every dollar used to make camp accessible for anyone.
"Knowing that you are truly making a difference in not only the campers' life but their family's life too. It is extremely rewarding to see the difference we can make in so many people's lives," said Morgan.
If you would like to be a summer camp counselor at Camp High Hopes, find out more about their programs and events, or just help them make camp possible, visit their website here.
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