This is Camping – Roughing It, In Style

Forest paths paved for chairs, signed nature talks, fully accessible “wilderness” camping facilities – all are characteristic of outdoor recreational […]

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Forest paths paved for chairs, signed nature talks, fully accessible “wilderness” camping facilities – all are characteristic of outdoor recreational opportunities available throughout the state during the summer months. This year marks the first Annual Access Press Summer Camping Directory, presented on pages 6 and 7 in this issue. It is not an exhaustive directory, but features information provided to us by organizations and facilities as a result of our inquiries. While the range of opportunities featured is broad, we would hasten to advise liberal use of the phone to uncover others – all state parks, for instance, have a variety of accessible facilities. Reservations, or at least pre-trip inquiries, are advised in all cases. The term “accessible” is still loosely interpreted. For specific answers, ask specific questions – and happy camping!

Courage Center

Since 1928, Courage Center has been helping people with disabilities to achieve greater independence and reach their full potential. Courage Camps are a vital part of that process. Courage Camps offer accessible, safe camping opportunities for children and adults with physical disabilities and speech, hearing and vision impairments in a natural environment. All camp activities are designed to build self-confidence and maximize each camper’s independence. Campers may discover abilities they never knew they had or thought they had lost.

Courage Center’s two residential camp facilities are Camp Courage at Maple Lake, Minnesota, and Courage North near Itasca State Park in northern Minnesota. Camp Courage is located on 305 acres of land and also has two islands for outdoor camping experiences. It has 35 modern, barrier-free winterized buildings between its two campuses to accommodate campers with physical disabilities, vision impairments, or speech, hearing, or language disorders. Camp facilities include a recreation center with pool and gymnasium, a health center, craft shop, and wild animal and barnyard zoos. Campers can choose from a variety of activities, including swimming, horseback riding, exploring nature trails and ponds, fishing, canoeing, sailing, riding in a pontoon boat, riflery, archery, wheelchair athletics and overnight camping.

Courage North has 14 modern log buildings surrounded by 95 acres of towering pines on the shoreline of Lake George. The camp also includes a dining hall, six cabins with fireplaces and activity rooms, and a recreation/activity center.

Courage North programs primarily serve hearing impaired children and teens, physically-disabled children and adults, and children recovering from burns. Activities at Courage North include waterskiing, swimming, hiking, biking, backpacking, nature and crafts, and overnight camping. Many of the activities during the camp sessions are planned by the campers themselves.

Courage camps employ more than 100 qualified counselors and medical professionals. Their individualized care and support enables campers with even the most severe disabilities to safely test their capabilities and to explore the world around them. Staff includes a resident physician, nurses, speech clinicians, and other professionals appropriate for specific program’s goals.

In addition to the traditional camping opportunities, Courage camps offer a number of special programs and sessions. Many of these are held in cooperation with other organizations to combine experience and expertise. Special camping sessions include the Hemophilia Camp, co-sponsored by the Minnesota Hemophilia Foundation; Oncology Camp sessions for children with cancer and their siblings, co-sponsored by the American Cancer Society, Minnesota divisions; SKIP Camp for technologically-dependent children, and Deaf/Blind Camp for families. Camp Courage also operates respite weekend programs for disabled individuals who are interested in providing a respite for their caregivers.

Courage camps’ fees vary according to program and length of stay. Campers are encouraged to pay what they can toward the cost of camp but costs not met by fees are covered by “campership” contributions from clubs, organizations, corporations and individuals.

For more information about Courage Center’s camping programs, call the Camp Department at (612) 520-0504 or Courage Information at (612) 520-0520.

Eden Wood

Eden Wood Camping & Retreat Center, located in Eden Prairie, Minnesota provides on-site camping and off-site trip and vacation experiences for children and adults with developmental disabilities, ages 5-85. Persons may also have related conditions such as physical disabilities, sight and hearing impairments, autism, and special-diet and medical needs.

The eleven on-site resident camping weeks have themeswhich focus on individual interest areas and provide diversity throughout the summer. These themes include Leisure Specialties, Sports & Health, Rest, Relaxation & Recreation, Kids and Young Adults Week. Cost is $310.00 per session (limited day camping available at $210.00 per session).

The number of staff, volunteers and interns allow for a one to-one staff-to-participant ratio as needed, as well as aid in providing flexibility and individuality in programming.

Trip and vacation sessions are 3-10 days in length and feature small groups – no more than six participants ages 14+. There are a variety of trips to fit the needs of every individual; camping, urban adventures, lake cabin vacations, weekend hotel trips and extended camping trips. Prices start at $320.00 per week trip.

Eden Wood does offer scholarships to help ensure that anyone who genuinely wants to attend Eden Wood is able to, regardless of ability to pay and are considered on an individual basis. No-interest payment plans are also available. Contact Linda at 934-2771 for more information.

Eden Wood is a member of the American Camping Association (ACA). An intensive evaluation of health and safety standards, staff training, participant care, program content and facilities is done every three years by ACA representatives.

YMCA Day Camp

A fully integrated program for children ages 6-10 with and without physical and mental developmental disabilities.

Day camping gives children the opportunity to experience the adventure of camping during the day and the security of going home each night. Activities include camping skills, outdoor education, sports, games, nature, boating, stories, arts, crafts and more.

Dates: 8:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. with extended hours available from 7:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. June 10-14, 17-21, 24-28. July 8-12, 15-19, 22-29. August 5-9, 12-16, 19-23. Location: Skyway/East YMCA, 194 6th St. E. Box 44, St. Paul, MN 55101-1999. For more information call Cate Chapman (612) 292-4120.

Avanti-Camp St. Croix

For children 6-13 who have average or above average intelligence and learning disabilities and/or sensory integrative disfunction. This may include children who have poor coordination, hyperactivity, poor attention or inadequate motor planning skills. Offered by the YMCA of Greater St. Paul and research Development in Pediatric Therapy Inc.

Camp activities include nature, arts, crafts, swimming, boating, cookouts, archery and hiking, as well as therapeutic activities such as horseback riding therapy and sensory integration treatment. Staff therapists are specialists from across North America.

Dates: June 9-16. Cost: Call for cost; financial assistance is
available based on need. Location: YMCA Camp St. Croix, 532 Country Road F, Hudson, WI 54016. For more information call Nancy Lawton-Shirley, (715) 386-6660.

Camp Needlepoint and Daypoint

Daypoint is a summer day camp for children ages 6-10 with diabetes. Camp Needlepoint is a summer resident camp for youth 9-15 with diabetes.

Daily activities include nature, arts, crafts, swimming, boating, cookouts, archery, hiking and horseback riding. Integrated into the program is education on diabetes, management of diabetes through diet and exercise, and group discussions led by a social worker on coping with the disease. Co-sponsored by the YMCA of Greater St. Paul and the American Diabetes Association of Minnesota.

Dates for Needlepoint: August 11-17, 18-24. Dates for Daypoint: August 12-17, 19-23.

Call for cost, financial assistance is available based on need.
Location: YMCA Camp St. Croix, 532 County Road F, Hudson, WI 54016. For more information call American Diabetes Association of Minnesota at (612) 593-5333.

Adventures Program

For youth with and without disabilities ages 14 and up.

With experienced staff, youth spend a few days in base camp learning outdoor living and canoe skills and planning their trip. Then they go on trail for 5-11 days, canoeing and camping in and around the Boundary Waters Canoe Area.

Dates: June 26-July 6, July 8-16, July 24-August 3, August 5-19, August 22-29. The cost is $345-$595, with financial assistance available based on need. Location: YMCA Camp Widjiwagan, Ely, Minnesota. For more information: YMCA Camp Widjiwagan, 1761 University Ave., St. Paul, MN 55104 or call (612) 645-6605.

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  • "Stay safe, Minnesota. Take steps to protect yourself, & others from the COVID-19 virus."

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