Gift Saves Summer Camp For Disabled Kids

Tuesday, May 12th 2009, 10:39 pm
By: News On 6

By Craig Day, The News On 6

TULSA, OK - An effort is underway to save a summer camp for kids with disabilities.  The loss of a major sponsor led to the tough decision to cancel the camp.  But, help is on the way.  A major donor stepped forward who says they want these children with challenges, to have the same kind of camp experiences that all children have.

The News On 6 first introduced you to the Stephen's family about three weeks ago.  Andrew and his parents were upset that the summer camp he's attended for ten summers wasn't going to happen.

"I was really hurt.  I was hurt for the kids," said Susan Stephens.

The campers pay a fee to attend, but the bulk of the money for the camp for developmentally disabled kids comes from a main sponsor which was lost when SemGroup went bankrupt.

But now, help has arrived.

"We are extremely thankful for the Zarrow Foundation.  I would give anything just to personally tell them thank you," said Susan Stephens.

The Zarrow Group of Foundations pledged a total of $20,000.  The City of Owasso also kicked in $5,000.

"To hear the camp was going away just didn't seem right," said Jeff Summers with the Bridges Foundation.

It's enough money for the camp to continue this summer.  The Bridges Foundation, which provides job training for adults with disabilities, will run the camp.

"This is one of the few chances these individuals have to be themselves without having to try to measure up to people without disabilities.  They can go out and run and play and swim and have fun and go bowling and do all the activities that this camp provides, and not feel like they're having to live up to someone else's expectations," said Jeff Summers with the Bridges Foundation.

For Andrew Stephens and his family, they're thankful for the act of generosity and the difference the camp makes in young lives.

"As a mom, it's just incredibly special to see these instructors to see these teachers work with our kids through the summer," said Susan Stephens, Andrew's mom.

The donations are enough to keep from canceling the camp for this summer, but they still need to raise $15,000 for this year and they need to find a more permanent sponsor for future years.

Donations can be made to the Bridges Foundation in Tulsa.