Camp Mission Possible set for July 6-8 at 4-H center on Lake Brownwood

Inclusive residential camp is for youth with medically diagnosed disabilities

Writer: Paul Schattenberg, 210-859-5752, paschattenberg@ag.tamu.edu

Contact: Dr. Darlene Locke, 979-845-6535, dlocke@ag.tamu.edu

BROWNWOOD – The Texas 4-H Conference Center in Brownwood will host the 2017 Camp Mission Possible July 6-8.

“Camp Mission Possible is a unique co-educational inclusive residential camp designed for youth with medically diagnosed disabilities,” said Dr. Darlene Locke, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service 4-H youth development specialist, College Station.

Camp Mission Possible,  an inclusive camp for youth with disabilities, will be July 6-8. (Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service photo)

The center is located at 5600 Farm-to-Market Road 3021 on the western side of Lake Brownwood. The 78-acre site is accredited by the American Camp Association, so families are assured of a quality program and facility that meets rigorous standards, Locke said.

“The camp itself features traditional camp experiences such as kayaking, shooting sports, challenge course activities, arts and crafts, environmental education, swimming, dancing and more,” she said.

The camp is for youth with medically diagnosed disabilities that have completed the second grade by the time of camp. All applicants are required to submit an application. To apply, go to http://bit.ly/2miUsA4. Applications will be reviewed and the camper’s parent or guardian will be contacted to ensure the camp and facility can adequately meet the needs of their camper.

Locke said participating youth will be housed, by gender, in air-conditioned dormitories, with  each room having its own restroom and shower facilities. Programs are coordinated by AgriLife Extension professionals and college interns assisted by older 4-H mentors.

“There is a nurse on duty 24/7 and all medications are administered by the nurse,” Locke said.  “And a full-time staff at the center provides three balanced meals each day. Lunch and dinner include a self-serve salad bar, ensuring something for everyone. We also make accommodations for campers with food allergies or special meal requests, and the camp registration form has a place to provide information about these special requirements.“

The camp begins at 2 p.m. July 6 and concludes at 3 p.m. July 8. Cost is $175 per camper for registration before June 14. Registration covers all meals, lodging, refreshments, health care services, facility and programming fees, and a commemorative T-shirt.

Registration will be on a first-come, first-served basis until the camp is filled. All applicants must complete the online registration form. Once campers are approved and parents or guardians are contacted, initial registration can be made with a $25 non-refundable deposit through June 14. All payments must be received by June 30.

Locke said campers are paired with a “buddy” or mentor to help ensure they have a successful experience.

“The goal of Mission Possible is to create an inclusive environment and to also help break down the barriers of misunderstanding that hinder full community involvement by those persons with disabilities,” Locke said. “It also provides a great opportunity for 4-H members to ‘walk in the shoes’ of those in the disabled community and develop a better understanding of their everyday challenges.”

Mentors participate in hands-on activities to help them become aware of the practical challenges created in adapting to certain disabilities, Locke said. They are selected by an application process and are members of 4-H from across the state.

She said at least 20 4-H youth will be selected to serve as mentors for the camp. Those eligible to be mentors are any current 4-H youth who have completed eighth grade by the start of the camp and would like to serve alongside 4-H center counselors, program assistants and adult volunteers to provide a safe and fun experience for the campers.

Locke said 4-H mentors will reside in the dorms and participate in all camp activities.

“This is an excellent opportunity for 4-H members to participate in a hands-on service learning activity and develop their leadership skills,” she said. “Mentors may be asked to work individually with a camper needing special attention or with the entire group.”

4-H members who would like to serve as a mentor must apply online through 4-H Connect by March 15. There is no fee to apply and the 2017 Mentor Team will be announced by April 15. If selected, mentors pay a $125 registration fee and report to the 4-H Center on July 5 for training.

“Those being considered as mentors should not register for camp until notified they have been selected as a mentor,” Locke said. “All mentors are required to participate in training July 5-6 as well as participate in any online preparatory meetings before the camp.”

For mentor information, contact Locke at 979-845-6535 or dlocke@ag.tamu.edu.

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