Camp Able is a non-profit organization that was established to uphold the dignity of every individual. We seek to love our neighbors as ourselves, understanding that our neighbors don’t always look, sound or think the same way we do. Camp Able is about forming a community that loves us just as we are. Our goal is to establish, at least for one week, a community of unconditional love, compassion, and acceptance. It is a summer camping experience for persons of diverse abilities. For two summers, Camp Hardtner has had the pleasure of welcoming this wonderful programming experience for persons with disabilities, ages 18 and older. This summer, Camp Hardtner is excited to offer two sessions of Camp Able for campers ages 9+. The growth we have seen in these past two summers is amazing for this type of ministry.
The driving force behind Camp Able is the respect and dignity of every person, camper or staff, and the focus on what we can do rather than what we can’t do. We build community by singing, playing, and worshipping together. Camp Able came to Camp Hardtner from Marco Island, Florida, and has spread throughout Mississippi, Tennessee, and Louisiana. Future plans for Camp Able include Colorado in 2016 and potentially Costa Rica and a Camp Able Cruise in 2017. We are only limited by what we can imagine to offer amazing experiences for those that otherwise may never have such opportunities.
The first year Hardtner hosted Camp Able in 2013, we welcomed nearly 70 volunteer staff members and 33 campers. In 2014, that number rose to 47 campers. For 2015, we have added a second session to accommodate our growing number of campers and opened up the availability to younger campers. One of the driving forces behind our success is the selfless dedication from our volunteers. It is no simple feat to run this type of a program, and our volunteer staff brings their energy and love to share with our campers. One highlight of each Camp Able session is the Talent Show at the end of the week. Each camper chooses and works on his/her talent throughout the week with their camp counselors. The culmination is an open invitation event to our supporters to see the miraculous abilities and talents our campers’ posses.
As Camp Able is a non-profit organization, we rely heavily on donations to provide scholarships to campers that need them as well as to make improvements to our facilities to make our campers’ time here more comfortable. In two years, we have added sidewalks, an accessible fishing pier, and other minor modifications to the facility. In addition to our supporters and volunteer counselors, our medical staff is of the utmost importance to our campers and us. Each summer, four or more doctors and registered nurses volunteer their time and talents to make sure everyone is well cared for. This year, as we have added a second session of Camp Able, we are looking for additional volunteers, especially medical staff. Anyone interested in volunteering their time and talents can contact us in the Camp Hardtner office at (318) 765-3794 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Additionally, if you know of an individual that would like to attend Camp Able, the two sessions are offered June 9th through 13th and July 28th through August 1st at Camp Hardtner. More information can be found on our website www.camphardtner.org and www.campable.org.