'It's their vacation'
Thousands of children and adults will journey to Wonderland Camp this summer to have a safe, fun experience.
A group from Pike County is eager for their summertime fun. For some, it might mean the first time to be away from their family or caregivers.
“When one camper returned home last summer, she was like, ‘When do I get to go back?’ ” said Carletta Sutton, service coordinator at Champ Clark Service Coordination in Bowling Green.
This year, Operation Round Up funds totaling $3,000 were awarded by the Cuivre River Electric Community Trust Board to cover a portion of the $650 camp fee. Thanks to a matching contribution from Camp for Kids, a Kansas City-based non-profit that provides funds for summer camps, at least nine campers from Pike County will be able to attend for free.
Officials with Champ Clark Service Coordination, which provides case management services for Pike County residents with intellectual and developmental disabilities, are thankful for the support they receive from Cuivre River members and the trust board. The agency assists with the application process.
“We appreciate Cuivre River helping us out,” Executive Director Wendy MacLaughlin said. “Every year the cost of camp keeps going up. Most families can’t afford $650 for a week.
Sutton added: “The individuals love going to camp. It’s a chance for them to be treated as adults.”
Wonderland Camp is a residential camp on the Lake of the Ozarks serving campers with disabilities, ages 6 years and older. The camp is devoted to individuals with a variety of developmental and physical disabilities. All facilities are wheelchair accessible.
The camp is full of fun activities, ranging from swimming and archery to boating and miniature golf. Campers can also participate in a talent show.
Every week has a different theme. Some of this summer’s themes are Disney, Harry Potter, Pirates of the Sea, and Olympics.
“Not very many people who we support get a chance to go on vacation like that,” MacLaughlin said. “For some of them, it’s a once in a lifetime experience.”
The campers enjoy the camaraderie they experience from others who are in attendance. For some, that means staying in touch and making sure they attend the camp at the same time next year.
“It’s their vacation,” Sutton said.
Operation Round Up grant funds come from Cuivre River Electric Cooperative members who voluntarily pay the round up amount on their monthly electric bill. The funds are administered by volunteer trustees who represent areas within St. Charles, Lincoln, Warren and Pike counties where Cuivre River offers electric service.
The program addresses unmet needs in the areas of community and emergency services, home weatherization, health, youth and education. Grant applications are available at Cuivre River Electric Cooperative offices in Troy and Lake Saint Louis or can be downloaded here. For more information, email email@example.com or call 636-695-4837.