Kiwanis Camp Casey Programs
The camp is fully funded by the Kiwanis Club and their fund raising efforts. It is free of charge for all campers. The majority of our campers come from the greater Puget Sound area; however, because of the unique service of our camp, we also have campers who live in eastern Washington, California, Oregon and Idaho. We have been told that our camp is one of the few in existence that serves children free of charge, who are basically healthy, but have physical limitations. These children are often not able to attend a traditional summer camp. We average 95 children, with half needing the use of a wheelchair or walker for mobility and more than half attending regular education classrooms. Our campers have diagnosis labels such as cerebral palsy, spina bifida, congenital limb disorders, or childhood spinal cord injuries. All of our campers love camp for the opportunity to engage is typical summer fun activities. Our counselors are high school through college age people who develop lifelong appreciation and friendships with our campers. The Kiwanis Camp Casey leadership teams are dedicated volunteers; provide the fund raising, oversight, and nursing services. Many are past counselors or second and third generation Kiwanis.
A free one week summer camp, usually held the first week in August, that provides children wh have physical limitations with a safe, FUN, typical summer camp experience. From campfires with s’mores, parade, theme meals, talent show, arts and crafts, field trips to the beach or fort and a dance and graduation ceremony at week’s end, our campers and counselors make friendships and memories that last a lifetime. As one of our camper’s states in a video available on YouTube, Kiwanis Camp Casey, “No one is in a category, everyone is different and we are all one big family.” Counselors, adult support help and nurses all volunteer their time and resources. Typical camp expense, to rent facilities from SPU, food, transportation and insurance runs an average of $45,000 annually.
Members of Kiwanis and counselors from Kiwanis Camp Casey partner with Seattle Adaptive Sports to provide a social connection after each monthly Seattle Adaptive Sports clinic called the “CREW.” Occasional group outings to Mariner Games or the zoo and the February dance, or just time to eat pizza together, all help to foster friendships and provide peer mentoring for campers, alumni and participants with Seattle Adaptive Sports. Donations for food/snacks, event tickets are always appreciated.
Counselor Scholarship Program
Kiwanis Camp Casey counselors or camp nurses are eligible to apply for the Kiwanis Camp Casey scholarship program. The amount of the program varies each year as determined by the donations made specifically to this fund and or after annual camp funding has been raised.
Recent Successes and Current Challenges
One of our 2011 camp graduates spoke at our March 24, 2011 fundraiser. She is completing her high school requirements while also attending running start at Highline Community College. She shared with the audience how attending camp each summer from the ages of five to 17 helped her to develop friendships, confidence to communicate her needs and interests, and become a leader in her community.
Several Campers who thought they were the only child with unique physical limitations in their immediate community met like able Campers and were able to continue the friendship throughout the year.
Parents thank the Kiwanis leadership for providing the free summer camp experience, “it is the break we look forward to all year to recharge our marriage, knowing our son is having the time of his life!”
Due to the successful fundraiser of 2010, four counselors were able to receive scholarships of $1,000 each. The students are in programs for pharmacy, occupational therapy and other health or human service fields of study.
Each year the Camp leadership team needs to raise an average of $45,000 annually. This covers our facilities rental, insurance, bus and van rental, food and entertainment expenses. We could not continue to provide camp without the support of our community.