Tears of Joy, Laughing and Dancing at Camp Dream with Beverly Taylor

Clete Taylor of Camp Dream shares his story.

Clete Taylor of Camp Dream shares his story.

Editor’s NoteClete Taylor is a volunteer counselor at Camp Dream located in Warm Springs, Georgia. Each summer Clete donates his time to help disabled childrenexperience life and joy despite their situations. Camp Dream accepts children and young adults as campers and adapts to their different disabilities and illnesses. The children always come first while their financial situations are secondary. These young people find a freedom at Camp Dream they’ve never experienced before and have amazing adventures they’ve only thought were dreams. Part 3 of a 4-part series.

The children at camp dream participate in a lot of fun activities!

The children at camp dream participate in a lot of fun activities!

At Camp Dream, one experiences tears of joy, lots of giggles, smiles and laughter. The special needs children at Camp Dream want to do everything. They know they are here to live their dreams and they are always enthusiastic. We get up at 7:00 a.m. and have breakfast. Afterwards, the children are divided up into four teams, and they spend the day with their team members fishing, horseback riding, enjoying relay races, having story time, doing arts and crafts, going on boat rides, swimming, and watching movies under the stars.

The last night at Camp Dream we hold a big dance for all the campers and counselors, with either a band or a DJ spinning tunes. The counselors and the children always have a blast. The men counselors will take the girls and guys out of their chairs, hold them and dance with them. We also roll the wheelchairs to the beat of the music. The campers absolutely love it—it’s a chance for them to let loose and enjoy their last night to the fullest. We always find a way to help every child dance despite any wheelchair, limp, cast, or crutch.

There was a young man named David, who has endured an aneurysm and four brain surgeries. He couldn’t eat, speak or move any part of his body. He went with his counselor everywhere in the camp, and we could tell by reading his eyes if he was happy, sad or needed anything. He did everything the other kids did. Since he had an electric chair, he could dance with the other kids. It was such a joy to see! David came to camp for three years.

Sometimes parents are nervous to send their child to camp, especially when the child has severe disabilities like David. They desperately want him or her to have this experience, but there is the worry that there won’t be proper care. To alleviate this worry, we allow a parent to attend camp alongside his or her child. Although the parent is present, we ask him or her to allow the child to be with the counselor. At camp, we’re all about having our children make new friends, and if a parent wants to stay, we ask them to be a counselor for someone else’s child so they can be involved and maybe learn something new. This way they can be around their child, but not by his or her side the entire time, disabling new friendships and confidence.

Camp Dreams brings out happiness and confidence in the children and young adults.

Camp Dream brings out happiness and confidence in the children and young adults.

After camp, the parents who have stayed often thank us for the valuable experience with another child and for their child’s opportunity to have a blast and be a kid. We’ve also received wonderful compliments and thank-yous from parents who did not attend the camp because they can see the amazing experience shining right through their child. To learn more about Camp Dream, and see the amazing work of the volunteers who serve a higher purpose, please click here.

Next: Camp Dream Turns No Child Away With Beverly Taylor

About the Author: For the last 12 years, John E. Phillips of Vestavia, Alabama, has been a professional blogger for major companies, corporations and tourism associations throughout the nation. During his 24 years as Outdoor Editor for “The Birmingham Post-Herald” newspaper, he published more than 7,000 newspaper columns and sold more than 100,000 of his photos to newspapers, magazines and internet sites. He also hosted a radio show that was syndicated at 27 radio stations; created, wrote and sold a syndicated newspaper column that ran in 38 newspapers for more than a decade; and wrote and sold more than 30 books. Learn more at http://www.nighthawkpublications.com

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