Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Giving Thanks for Courageous Kids and Those Who Care for Them

Today I'm featuring a very special guest post from Teresa at .

I am so very blessed that sometimes on Gratituesday it’s hard to know just what to give thanks for. That isn’t the case today.

Approximately two years ago a medical camp for seriously ill children was built in Scottsville, Kentucky. The facility is located on 168 acres and it’s about 45 miles from where I live. The camp is called The Center for Courageous Kids.
The mission of the camp is this: To uplift children who have life-threatening illnesses by creating experiences year round that are memorable, exciting, fun, build self-esteem, are physically safe, and medically sound.

When you take a closer look at what went into building this facility and the people behind the scenes that care for these children, you realize that a one sentence mission statement is just the tip of a very, very large iceberg of dreams.

The first thing I noticed when I drove through the gates at The Center was how beautiful the white buildings with the blue roofs were. They were even more beautiful on the inside.

The Communication Director, Stormi Murtie, met me at the door and gave me a tour of the facilities.

Because this is a medical camp for children with serious disorders and health issues there are exam and critical care rooms. There is a place for a helicopter to land, an infusion therapy room, and a hospital right down the road. The picture above is the T J Samson examination room.
                                           Stables and Equestrian Center 

There are eight gentle, noise-proof horses for the children to pet, ride or just enjoy watching.
                                Bowling Alley with bumpers and adaptive devices

One of my favorite buildings was The Fun Center. There were ping pong tables, pool tables, and much, much more.

             Indoor pool with zero grade entry, aqua lift and warming room

There was an indoor pool, a rock climbing wall, basketball court (with adjustable goals) an art room, beauty salon and a lake for boating and fishing and that’s not all, but because this post can not accommodate pictures of everything there is to see and do, you are just going to have to take my word for it….it is awesome!

The Center hosts Summer Camp and Family Weekends throughout the school year. Some of the illness groups served include: asthma, autism, cancer, epilepsy, diabetes, spina bifida, and many, many more. My tour was wonderful and I so appreciate Ms. Stormi for taking the time out of her day to show me around. What’s missing, of course, from these pictures are the children themselves.

                                Hand prints (and heart prints) of campers

When I stopped to look at this wall I imagined all the little faces that made these prints and the people who helped them. Not only are the kids courageous but so are their parents, the medical staff, camp volunteers and folks who run the camp are heroes as well.

After my tour I drove home lost in thought, my mind literally spinning with all the wonderful things I had seen. I couldn’t help but wonder how such a great organization could exist for two years practically on my back door step and I had never been to see it. I thought about the founder of the camp, Elizabeth Turner Campbell, and how much I admired her for dreaming the dream and then using her passion and resources to turn that dream into a reality. And finally I began asking myself, “What can I do to help?”

What follows is what I thought of on the way home, but thoughts are still pinging through my brain like bolts of lightening.

1. I can tell friends who have children with disabilities and health problems about the camp. There is no cost to the families and the whole family can attend one of the weekend camps if they so desire.

2. I can make The Center for Courgeous Kids NanaHood’s Charity of Choice. As soon as Char (my friend and web go-to girl) can I have asked her to place a permanent link from NanaHood to The Center’s web site.’

3. I can donate to The Center and ask others to do so. They have a long list of needs and suggestions for volunteering on their site.

4. I can pray for these courageous campers, for their families and for all the folks who donate their time and talents at the camp to help a sick child have a fun, safe, camp experience. Thank you Lord, for the blessing of this camp and for all those who help these precious children and their families!

Please visit the camp’s site at and help me spread the word about the wonderful work these people are doing. There are families (probably near where you live) who have children who would love to spend time at this exceptional camp. I am sure there are parents who could benefit from the comraderie of other parents going through similar experiences.

Note:  Being the grandparent of a special needs child, I am so thankful for wonderful facilities like these that meet the needs of so many special children and their families.  Thank you, Teresa, for sharing this wonderful post!

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