Trusted local news leader for Williams AZ and the Grand Canyon
Sun, Aug. 09

Lend a hand, make a donation to Camp Civitan

This Sunday Camp Civitan’s first group of campers will be heading to their first summer session.

Although the camp has been in the hands of the Civitan Foundation of Arizona/Southern Nevada since 1968, it’s easy for locals to forget it’s sitting there just five miles to the north of us.

If you’ve not spent much time with the developmentally handicapped, you might be in store for a surprise. Simple tasks take on completely different overtones when accomplished by a mentally or physically challenged individual.

The youth and adults with physical or mental handicaps are likely to make the most of a week of new experiences this summer by going to camp for the first time ever. It will be a chance to play games, hike and participate in sing-alongs with new friends — activities most kids take for granted but which will open up a new world for many of these campers.

For many campers this is the only vacation they get and it gives them a chance to make their own decisions — independent of parents, school personnel or caretakers who tell them what to do.

Each day has a variety of activities built into it centering around cooking, arts, crafts, physical activities and music.

Camp staffers say it’s amazing to see the changes in campers as the week progresses. For example it’s not unusual for a first-time camper to start out quiet and reserved. But by the end of the week it’s normal to see that same camper confidently jumping right into situations.

Camp sessions run for one week each from June through August with each session attended by about 40 campers ages 12 to 50, which should amount to more than 360 individuals in attendance this year.

And according to Ed Trapp, Civitan Arizona/Southern Nevada executive director, nearly 90 percent of the campers come from low-income families.

Trapp said Camp Civitan was designed for people with disabilities and it is fully wheelchair accessible. The camp is staffed by five full-time employees and 45 full- and part-time volunteers from Civitan clubs throughout the area. Eighty-eight percent of the staff time is volunteered.

There’s an extensive volunteer program in place at Camp Civitan for those who want to become personally involved.

In fact, this summer volunteers aged 15 and older are needed at each session to act as counselors for the campers and to work as kitchen help.

The ratio of volunteers to campers is at least one to four in all cases, but campers needing more assistance have a volunteer devoted solely to them. Volunteers will be housed in dormitories with the campers.

The camp is also in need of a registered nurse for one or all of the weeks, and this is a paid position.

Anyone interested in volunteering or applying for the nursing position is asked to call or write to: Marianne Murphy, Camp Director, 5820 West Virginia, Phoenix, AZ 85035. Murphy can be reached by phone at home (623-245-0467), work (602-254-1995) or by cell phone (602-989-2095).

Any of you seeking more information or wanting to contribute to this cause are urged to write to Camp Civitan c/o Ed Trapp, Civitan Foundation President, 444 W. Camelback Road, Suite 307, Phoenix AZ 85013. Or you can phone him at 602-264-0435.

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