The pandemic deprived many of cherished events and activities and none were more disappointed than those who annually participate in Camp Courage.
Saturday was the first and only day of camp this summer, following a cancelation last summer. Camp Courage is a summer camp for adults with special needs that is typically four days and three nights long. The Co-Director, Ashley Fields, said this group was hit hard by isolation this past year.
"COVID was hard, it was very hard. And many of these campers really were truly isolated and had to stay within their homes, group homes, they didn’t get to see family members. Many of them didn’t have even the technology to do things like FaceTime and Skyping like we did. So to be back together again with everybody they’ve been doing vacation with for years is so important," Fields said.
Now, not only campers, but those running and volunteering for the camp are all just as excited to be back.
"It’s emotional, it makes me really excited. I’ve been out here since I was 14 and many of the other campers or counselors are the same way. They’re all friends and to know what they went through this year and to be able to bring that back to them. It means everything, it means everything to us. That one little piece of joy, a lot of things were taken away but it hit this population differently," she said.
Austin and Dalton Johnson are brothers who are excited to be back at the camp this year. Austin said after being canceled last year, they're enjoying catching up with friends and volunteers. The campers were able to enjoy stations with crafts or games, dancing and water games like fishing or swimming.
Fields said they look forward to a full camp next year.
Nonprofits are working to get back to full events following the year of shutdowns and they are looking for help. Fields said money donations, volunteering time and even donating items around your house are a great way to help give back.