Summer Fun at Camp

The Amputee Coalition’s Paddy Rossbach Youth Camp is a five-day traditional summer camp experience for children ages 10-17 who have lost arms and/or legs or who were born with limb differences. The camp offers challenging activities that build campers’ confidence regardless of skill level and takes place at Camp JOY in Clarksville, Ohio.

Last year was my first year as camp coordinator and it was an amazing five days. The night before the campers arrived, a counselor told me that “what happens at camp stays with you forever.” She was right.

I watched as 87 campers tackled the ropes course and rock wall, went fishing, canoeing, enjoyed creative arts, played hours of “ga-ga,” had an incredible carnival night (hosted by about 50 WillowWood volunteers), and danced the night away. Simply put, we had an absolute blast!

While camp was certainly full of fun, I quickly learned that the Paddy Rossbach Youth Camp is also a very important camp. And thanks to wonderful camp sponsors like WillowWood, this camp changes lives. Campers inspired each other toward greater self-confidence, challenged each other to try new things, and shared common experiences with others that have faced similar situations. For some kids, this camp is the first or only place they are able to interact with other youth with limb loss. They leave camp with a support system of peers, with renewed confidence and friendships that last a lifetime.

We are currently gearing up for our 15th annual Paddy Rossbach Youth Camp in July and we are hoping to bring over 100 campers from across the country. This will be our largest camp ever. When I’m tempted to get lost in the administrative details and logistics, I simply look back at one of countless notes from campers and parents and am reminded of the big picture:

“My son’s life changed the moment we walked into the cafeteria filled with other campers.  I saw a look of hope on his face that I had never seen in my life. There in a room filled with complete strangers, Sawyer was more comfortable than anywhere this life has taken him. Here, for the first time in his life, he was like everyone else.” – Laryssa

 I can’t wait to hear how Camp 2014 impacts the lives of even more children and more families. It’s going to be another wonderful year.

Jessie Cantrell
Amputee Coalition
Youth Camp Coordinator

With the help of sponsors and donations, the Amputee Coalition covers all expenses, including travel, for every camper. For more information or to learn how you can be involved, please contact the Amputee Coalition: www.amputee-coalition.org/camp.

Happy Campers

Campers experience all the typical summer camp fun but also establish strong peer bonds.

 

Game of basketball

The Paddy Rossbach Youth Camp may be the first time some campers get to hang out with kids just like themselves.

On the ropes

Two ropes courses allow campers to push themselves to new heights of accomplishment!

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