If Houston was a City on a Hill

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If Houston had a hill in the center of the city, I can think of many things that could be constructed on top. For instance, wouldn’t it be amazing if our football stadium were located there? Afterall, us Texans love our football. Or how about our medical center considering people from all over the world come to Houston to be treated. Perhaps a University like Rice or University of Houston should be placed on top since bright minds are the ones that will be shaping our future. Or maybe a theater where symphonies and operas can perform would be best. Any of these things would be wonderful choices to display on a hill, but if the goal is to display the best of what Houston has to offer, than that would entail witnessing the act of selfless giving, humility, kindness, and community that so many Houstonians willing do everyday.

It would be wrong for me to choose one organization and their volunteers over another to be placed on a hill since there are so many in Houston like the Covenant House, Star of Hope, or Casa Juan Diego. However, I would like to mention one place that is tucked away in the outskirts of the city. CampForAll is a place where children with special needs and challenging illnesses can not only go to heal, but also learn new skills and gain self-confidence.

With a special thanks to camp director Kurt Podeszwa whom I met at TedX Houston, I was given a tour of the camp and witness first-hand several of the fun and challenging activities that these campers participate in. Archery, zip lining, fishing, horse back riding, rock climbing, kayaking, painting, and even some dancing performing moves like the sprinkler and the ice cream. (These kids are much better dancers than me).

I am a bit jealous of these kids. I never went to a camp such as Camp For All where I could enjoy so many activities and interact with so many other kids. In addition to seeing these amazing kids perform these activities, I also met some great volunteers. College students who absolutely loved volunteering and encouraging these kids to discover life at camp. Below is a pic of four awesome volunteers I was able to meet during my visit – Keziah, Sarah, Omar, and Molleigh along with Kurt.

If you’d like to support Camp For All, help supply them with much-needed things that you can get at Target, Wal-Mart, or Amazon. Just search for ‘Camp For All’ at http://www.target.com/lists/find, www.walmart.com/wishlist, and http://www.amazon.com/. Gifts of any size will help the children with special needs and challenging illnesses to discover the wonderful life at camp.

If you have any questions and would like to volunteer, please contact Sterling Leija at sleija@campforall.org or call her at 979-289-3752. Please pass this post along to your friends!

A fun Texas Summer Camp for kids with special needs

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A wonderful summer camp for children and adults with challenging illnesses and special needs…

Camp for All is a great way for campers of all ages and abilities to gain self-confidence and independence while having fun, learning new skills and bonding with others who share their challenges in a safe and understanding environment. Campers at Camp for All are surrounded by others with the same challenges and immersed in fun activities and a positive environment.

More than 7,000 campers attend Camp for All throughout the year and it has been around since 1998.

I first learned about the camp after hearing Camp Director Kurt Podeszwa speak at TedxHouston in June 2011. I, and everyone else in the audience, could easily tell how passionate Kurt was not only working with children and adults with special needs, but also seeing how much he enjoyed putting his heart and soul into helping children do things they didn’t think was possible.

Some of the fun activities that Camp for All offers are: aquatics, archery, arts & crafts, camper kitchen, biking, challenge course, equestrian program, small animal farm, wheelchair sports, kickball, paint ball, disc golf, gold panning, and a nature program. Hek, I want to go! Read about these activities here.

For directions and other information, please visit www.campforall.org.