Camp teaches can-do attitude
Everyone faces challenges in life. Some face bigger challenges than others.
Alabama Special Camp for Children and Adults public relations director Allison Wetherbee spoke to the Selma Rotary Club Monday about how her organization helps people with disabilities overcome these challenges.
The camp, which opened in 1976, is located on Lake Martin and offers a number of activities that are commonly held at summer camps. Wetherbee, who was born without arms and legs and was also a camper at ASCCA, said there is something for people of all ages.
“We offer camping services for children and adults with disabilities,” she said. “We work with people with physical and mental disabilities of all ages. Our youngest camper is 6 and the oldest camper we have ever had was 96.”
Summer, Wetherbee said, is the busiest season. The camp serves between 1,200 and 1,500 people between June and August. But, she added, the camp is open year-round and usually serves between 6,000 and 8,000 people. Because of its capabilities, she said the camp is very well known.
“We serve a large number of people,” she said. “Every county in Alabama is represented by campers. We also have campers from all over the Southeast and we have had campers and staff from all over the world. We are very well known for what we do.”
Activities include arts and crafts, swimming, canoeing and horseback riding.
There are also other activities like a zip line, tree house, cargo net and water sports like sit-skiis and water tubing.
“We offer the kind of things you would see at any other type of camp,” she said. “We also have a lot of high adventure activities you might not think you would see. It encourages campers to do things they wouldn’t be able to do anywhere else and also things they think they can’t do. They make everything accessible.”
Through their equipment and activities, Wetherbee said Camp ASCCA offers people with disabilities a new outlook on life.
“It gives you a sense of self-confidence and independence,” she said. “That’s what it did for me when I was a kid. Had it not been for those experiences I doubt I would have done things like graduating from high school, going on to college and living independently from my parents since I was 18.”
The camp, Wetherbee said, is also open to businesses for retreats and for family reunions and other activities.