CAMP ReCREATION


Volunteers:

For our more than 200 young adult volunteer camp counselors who become temporary caregivers, working at camps reinforces for them the belief that every child of God is a blessing. Learning to care for someone who does not have the capability to accomplish basic life skills on their own can translate to a very spiritual and humbling experience for the counselor. Our young adult volunteer counselors return year after year to donate their time, realizing that they have been truly blessed. In addition, a group of Sisters from the Sisters of St. Joseph will prepare the approximately 9,000 meals served to campers, volunteers and staff during the year. Only because of the dedication of approximately 300 volunteers are we able to present camp with funding from the Knights of Columbus and additional donations from the community.

New Camp Location:

Camp ReCreation 2016 will be held at the beautiful Motherhouse and grounds of the Sisters of St Joseph of Orange at 480 So. Batavia in Orange. The Sisters have recently vacated their three story Motherhouse and are transitioning it to community housing. This process will take a couple of years, and in the meantime, they are graciously offering their home to Catholic Charities for our beloved campers. We will be able to use nearby classrooms on their property for our workshops, the kitchens and dining rooms, the beautiful grounds and best of all, their large and gorgeous Sacred Heart Chapel for daily Mass.

Camp ReCreation is a five day long residential camp for adults with disabilities established in 1978 at the request of the Bishop of Orange to the Knights of Columbus of our Diocese to serve those with developmental disabilities in the Diocese of Orange. Campers range in age from 18 to 60 years old, and all have developmental issues. Some campers also have Down’s syndrome, Cerebral Palsy, and Autism. During the week long summer camp, campers and counselors participate in activities such as, but not limited to:

. Music Classes                                   . Nature Classes

. Arts and Crafts                                 . Olympic Themed Activities and Sports

. Drama Classes                                  . Spiritual Enrichment Classes

. Socialization                                     . Lives of the Saints

Nightly activities include camp fire entertainment such as, but not limited to:

. Waterfall                                          . Dances

. Live Band Concert                           . Talent Show Starring the Campers

Usually, during the week, we load the buses and head off to a field trip corresponding to our annual theme. Field trips have included Disneyland, San Diego Wild Animal Park, Universal Studios, and Knott’s Berry Farm. This year we will travel to a pool day, and possibly one additional field trip. This year’s theme is “We are the Champions; 2016 Olympic Games”.

Our Participants:

Our Camp ReCreation summer program proposes to serve 40-50 individuals with developmental disabilities and their families. Our 40-50 campers represent respite care given to 40-50 households. Respite is given to other family members including brothers, sisters, aunts and uncles who are caregivers for these campers. Four days of summer camp gives families and caregivers 72 x 2 or 144 hours of respite per camper (with 2 parents).

Our Counselors:

At Camp ReCreation summer program, the ratio of counselor to camper is 1:1, and we have 60­75 young adult counselor volunteers who serve our campers. Each camper has a 24-hr volunteer companion/care giver by their side for all of their camp experience. We recruit directly from Mater Dei High School, Rosary High School, Servite High School, JSerra High School, and Santa Margarita High School. Additionally, we provide opportunities to community volunteers between the ages of 18 to 25 to join us in our work. Many collegiates home for the summer, also volunteer.

Application for volunteer Counselor positions is a very selective process, since we have had up to 300 applicants each year. Our 12 volunteer Team Leaders direct the camper and counselor pairings. The volunteer team leaders are selected after many years of service in our programs as they guard the spirit and integrity of our camps. Our Program Director and Assistant Directors monitor and assess the safety of our campers and volunteers; they develop curriculum for personal growth of the campers and provide orientation and training of the volunteers in the area of special needs of disabled campers in classes called “People First” and “Disability Awareness”. We have additional staff and “floaters” who come throughout the week to assist in specialty areas of need, such as, but not limited to, exercise programs for those who are developmentally challenged, and speech therapy to name a few.

We have 7 paid Registered Nurses available for Camp ReCreation, and 7 for RC Jr. Camp. We have at least one licensed nurse, most times two., on staff 24 hours a day to administer medications and assist with emergencies. The entire program is overseen by the Executive Director of Catholic Charities, a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, who works closely with the Camp Director. Their combined experience totals over twenty-five years of service for those with special needs.

Camp Activities:

When campers arrive, their arrival is a highlight of the week. All returning counselors and new counselors and staff wait with real excitement at the parking lot for the arrival of the campers, who look forward to this all year. During the week we follow a schedule of classes:

. Arts and Crafts                                            . Faith based Spirit Classes

. Journal Training (A Book of Memories) . Drama Classes

. Special Games                                             . Olympic Themed Activities

. Lives of the Saints                                       . Socialization

We have a total of six groups or teams. There are 5-6 campers and 5-7 counselors, each led by one female and one male Team Leader. Days are quite full with Mass at 9 a.m., activities, and of course, delicious meals. During the evening, night time activities range from watching a movie to dancing the night away. A live band comes for a concert, and there are always other surprises. This year there will be many new activities and surprises along with the possibility of one field trip. This will also help hold some expenses down.

The last day of camp is a difficult separation for everyone involved at the Camp. It ends with a slide show of the events of the week-long camping experience, presentation of awards, and a Mass celebrated by the Bishop. The Bishop is escorted by an honor guard of the Knights of Columbus.

Nursing Care:

Because our campers have multiple medical conditions, we are staffed with a registered nurse 24 hours a day. Throughout the day (7 a.m. to 7 p.m.), we have 2 nurses on staff at all times. Some of our nurse volunteers donate much needed medical supplies such as over the counter medications, gloves, cups and tools needed to operate the camp nursing office. We are blessed to have a pool of 24 nurses on our volunteer list.

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