Hey guys! I haven’t been blogging but I just had one of the best experiences of my life at Camp Wamp in Soda Springs, CA and I wanted to share!
This past week I went to my first sleep away camp near Lake Tahoe. A family friend, Stephen Wampler, who also has Cerebral Palsy [CP] went to a similar camp when he was ten years old. The camp helped Steve realize how much he could do. With a little help and some adaptations, Steve knew he could accomplish anything he put his mind to. Stephen got married to Elizabeth, had two children and wanted to do something bold. He decided to climb El Capitan, a 2,000 foot mountain! There will be a documentary coming out on Netflix about Steve’s experience called “Wampler’s Ascent.” Be on the look out for it!
When Steve was ten years old his parents shipped him off to a similar sleep away camp. Steve was so inspired by his experience and the people that he met that he decided to start a camp of his own, Camp Wamp. My family met Steve when I was two years old and Steve has wanted me to go to Camp Wamp ever since. Probably because I am his mini me. Here is a picture so you can see for yourself . . .
Stephen is hysterical and quite possibly the funniest person I know. Stephen, Kelley and I went on an off roading adventure in his tank chair and got stuck in rocks. I panicked while Kelley and Steve laughed about every ridiculous thing the two of them thought would get us unstuck. I panicked because I thought that Kelley would have to carry me on one hip and Stephen on the other to get us back to camp. This adventure taught me that staying calm and finding humor in silly situations is a lot better than panicking. Here is Steve and I smiling before the tank got stuck . . .
I was so nervous before camp because I thought I would have to get use to a new helper who didn’t know my body or the way I work. Luckily, Kelley was able to come with me which made the experience/communication a lot easier. In third grade, I wrote a persuasive piece called, “The Benefits of Sleep Away Camp,” to help persuade me to go to Camp Wamp! I thought about it constantly and was so nervous to go. Like I said, my normal aide could go which made my experience easier and communication less frustrating. I ended up having the week of my life!
The people that I met became family to me. Obviously Stephen and Elizabeth but two other people stand out! A counselor named Audrey who made sure I was part of everything and helped me so that I could participate in all the camp activities. She was always so kind and fun! The other person who made my experience extra special was Blaine Wampler, Stephen’s nephew. Blaine was like an older brother to me. He was always making me laugh. Blaine and I instantly bonded. I even got his email so I can annoy him all year until Camp Wamp 2020!
I must admit, when we left camp I was sad. I missed Stephen’s humor and all the friends I made. I probably missed camp more than I missed family when they left me. Thank you Camp Wamp for an incredible summer. Can’t wait for next year!
Here is a short video Kelley made . . .
Below is a link to a GoFundMe that Kelley started to raise money for a really amazing place! Please donate!
Click the button below to donate to Camp Wamp