Civitan Camp nurtures campers' growth

FORREST COUNTY, Miss. - The Abbie Rogers Civitan camp in Forrest county celebrated its 55th annual children's camp with disabilities. Dozens of local children with different disabilities are getting a real summer camp experience for a week.

Camp Staff, Rob Doherty said, "Part of the camp is making sure that all of our campers and clients get to experience everything that everybody does."

The campers enjoy a variety of activities, from swimming, biking and boating, a lot of their equipment is disability friendly.

Director of the Camp Terri Daniels said, "We adapt all regular camping activities, to make sure that children with disabilities do all of the things everyone else does."

Camp staff encourages fun, but hopes the campers leave with a strong set of skills. Daniels said most of the campers are away from home for their very first time.

"It teaches them independence, it teaches them how to communicate, and let their needs be known to other people, and not just their families" said Daniels.

The camp also encourages campers to speak their voice. Betsy Mercier has volunteered at the camp for five years and said the voice of these children are important.

Mercier said, "To be able to become on their level, and start to understand what their voice is, for us to be proactive with their voice is more important."

One camper, Slade Humphrey, 13, communicates through an iPad like device. His camp guidance counselor, Nick Jouthe said, "He uses this (device) if its not a yes or no question, he gets to write out a sentence and write it on here."

Humphrey told FOX 23, "The camp is awesome,and I like the snake we just saw."

Another camper Bentley Raifod, 10, said, "I like the night activities better, because they are more fun than the day activities."

Abbie Rogers Civitan Camp continues to help countless campers, and hopes to help countless more in the years to come.

Click here to learn more about the camp and its services.

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