Video: Special Camp for Children With Special Needs
By: Salena Schaffer
VAN VLEET, Miss. (WCBI) –
Summer is winding down, but that isn’t stopping one camp from celebrating 41 years at Camp Tik-A-Witha which is traditionally a girl scout camp.
But for one week out of the summer for the past 41 years it becomes Elizabeth Gwin’s Special Session.
“We serve kids with moderate and mild disabilities, autism, different down syndrome and related intellectual disabilities.”said Beth Moody.
Beth Moody is a Session Director at the camp, this is her 26th year volunteering.
“I started when I was very young, I started when I was 14 and I’ve been here since then… it gets in your heart, in your blood and you just can’t stop coming back so that’s why I’m still here.” said Moody.
It happens to be a family affair.
“My husband started shortly after we got married and my sister is still on staff as well, and my mother has worked over the years.” said Moody.
There is a ratio of one staffer per camper. Some campers come from as far as Maryland and staffers even farther.
“They come from everywhere; we have staff members that live in DC, one that lives in Maryland. We have a staff member from Georgia, Florida, Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi, Texas and California.” said Moody
The goal of the camp is the same just like any other…
“We come to camp and canoe, we swim in the lake, we have a pool we swim in, we ride horses, we do arts and crafts, have a campfire and a dance… anything a typical child would do when they go to camp.” said Moody.
Kaitlyn McKinness is a fifth year camper and she just loves camp but her favorite part are the horses.
“How it’s really fun and all the people are really nice and I love horseback riding… I just like riding around, it’s fun being on top of the horse, it makes you feel like you’re on top of the world.” said McKinness.
Moody says the children’s smiles make it all worth it in the end.
“When the week is over and all the kids are gone and it’s calm and quiet there’s a sense of gratification in my heart, knowing that we’ve given these kids the best week of their year, of their summer” said Moody.