Campers and volunteers needed to horse around at Anything is Possible Camp
PERRYVILLE — This year, all campers at Camp Horsin’ Around’s Anything is Possible Camp can receive scholarships to pay for the experience thanks to supportive funding from Toyota Motor Manufacturing Kentucky and the Children’s Charity of the Bluegrass.
“This is a big deal,” said Camp Horsin’ Around Executive Director Julie McAllister, explaining that normally a three-day camp would cost about $150 per camper.
Camp Horsin’ Around is located in western Boyle County, north of Perryville. It sits high on a rolling hill, and features an office, a dining hall, multiple cabins and other buildings, including the “Bandaid Barn,” where children who need to receive ongoing medical treatment, such as chemotherapy, can do so while at the camp.
That’s what’s unique about Camp Horsin’ Around, explained McAllister: The mission is to serve children whose health is compromised or who have special needs.
“It’s for campers who, through no fault of their own, their body or life has let them down. Our board has a soft spot for being on the winning side of their memories,” said McAllister.
Campers have included kids dealing with asthma, spina bifida, cancer, diabetes and autism.
Camp Horsin’ Around has “removed the barrier” for kids to attend camp, McAllister said. If they need medical treatment, they can still attend camp. And they’re attending a camp that’s filled with other campers with different needs.
“If they’re here with kids with similar illnesses, it removes the stigma. They’re here with kids to be kids,” McAllister said. “To build friendships, to build memories, to build self-esteem — this is what we’re here for.”
Throughout the summer, organizations can bring their campers to the facility to allow their participants to have a camp experience.
Anything is Possible Camp, June 3-6, takes it one step further, by offering the camp experience to those children 6-14 who are not currently part of any organization.
“Most of these kids, because of their illness or their special needs, have not attended camp. Their experience for the first time of some of these outdoor activities and overcoming what they never thought they could accomplish, their sense of achievement when a child who has difficulty walking is very easily able to glide over the water in a kayak — it opens up a whole new world to them,” she said. “There was one child who had kayaked up here for the first time last summer that was amazed to find out there’s an Olympic event in kayaking.”
McAllister said the kid’s eyes lit up when he thought about competing in olympic kayaking.
“You could see how it changed his understanding of what he could accomplish.”
The campers, McAllister said, will be able to experience archery, kayaking, fishing, swimming, pedal-boating, wading in the creek, s’mores, campfires, hiking, s’mores again, rock wall climbing, basketball and arts and crafts.
“Even rainy weather is fun at Camp Horsin’ Around,” she said.
This year, Anything is Possible Camp will be run by Frazaan Milburn, who works at the Shriner’s Hospital camps, one of which will also be hosted at Camp Horsin’ Around. Milburn has 10 years experience working as a camp director.
“I’m looking forward to doing this camp,” Milburn said.
She’s already working on a schedule, as well as some new ideas, like scavenger hunts and lakeside activities.
Applications for campers can be found on Camp Horsin Around’s Website, camphorsinaround.org. (bit.ly/2oUapBW) The deadline to return applications is May 15.
Volunteers are a crucial part of the camp’s success. They help during the Anything is Possible Camp and throughout the rest of the summer. Milburn said they need one to two volunteers per camper, in order to ensure that “everyone has a wonderful time.”
That means at least 100 volunteers will be needed for the Anything is Possible Camp to serve as buddies, assisting campers in carrying trays, walking up and down the hill, getting into and out of the kayaks and other jobs. McAllister said they also need volunteers who are qualified in specialty areas, such as someone who is rock-wall certified, certified life guards and nurses.
She said they’d even like to have a pianist, to play camp songs on the piano in the dining hall.
All volunteers have to complete an application packet, which includes a background check. They must be at least 16 years old to qualify.
Parents of campers can also apply to be volunteers, but must go through the application process as well.
“This is an ideal situation for teens and young adults who are interested in any medical or human service fields, or are pursuing training like that, and who love children,” McAllister said.
Follow Kendra Peek on Twitter, @knpeek.
SO YOU KNOW
Applications for the Anything is Possible Camp can be found online at bit.ly/2oUapBW. They can be emailed, which is preferred, to firstname.lastname@example.org, or mailed to 1159 Claunch Road, Perryville, KY 40468.
Those interested in volunteering should contact Annette at the Camp Horsin’ Around office at (859) 332-0001. Volunteers must be 16 years of old or older and must undergo a background check.
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