Camp Freedom

Southeast’s Shine Disabilities Ministry is hosting Camp Freedom Family Day Camps Friday, July 17, and Saturday, July 18, at Country Lake Christian Retreat in Underwood, Indiana.

Many of us have seen a large number of our preferred routines and schedules significantly altered since mid-March. As the realities of COVID-19 became more evident and safety measures were implemented, our lives have been impacted in ways we never expected. 

The way we worship as a church changed. The way we do school was adjusted. Our favorite sporting events were canceled. The directive for social distancing has become common practice.

Life as we knew it changed.

Those life changes have continued into the summer. Unfortunately, we’ve had to remove many of our favorite warm-weather activities and events from our calendars.

For Southeast’s Shine Disabilities Ministry team, we knew there was high probability that one of our favorite events, Camp Freedom, would be impacted in a considerable way.

Camp Freedom is an action-packed weekend designed to help campers 10 years and older with an intellectual, developmental or physical disability experience summer camp in a way they most enjoy.

As a ministry team, we prayed for clarity and discernment in making the wisest decisions regarding all of our summer camps. Ultimately, the safest option for the individuals and volunteers who attend Camp Freedom was to cancel the event, which typically features three days and two nights of summer camp for more than 200 people.

But as our Shine Ministry team began to sort through the details on what this cancelation would mean for our campers and their families, there was an immediate glimmer of hope for an alternative camp option.

Over the course of just a few days, that glimmer became a shining light of excitement as discussion centered on the possibility of our ministry hosting a day camp. Thanks to the efforts of the team at Country Lake Christian Retreat and the tremendous support from our church leaders, that possibility became a reality with the recently announced Camp Freedom Family Day Camps.

Our Shine Ministry team is excited to be partnering with Country Lake to host the Camp Freedom Family Day Camps Friday, July 17, and Saturday, July 18.

Featuring many of the same activities offered during our overnight Camp Freedom experience, Family Day Camps are open to all ages and are scheduled to run from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day. The cost is $25 per person, with children ages 5 and under free.

We believe Family Day Camps will provide an alternative camp experience that blesses our campers as well as their families and caregivers while creating memories that will last a lifetime.

For many of the individuals and families connected to Shine Ministry, the new normal in life was essentially an even more challenging version of what daily life already resembled. Social isolation is a considerable challenge in the special-needs community, and the current landscape of life has only perpetuated those difficulties.

In light of those very real obstacles, we’re thankful for the opportunity to provide our Family Day Camps as a way for everyone connected to our ministry—individuals, families, volunteers—to experience the community, activities and worship associated with Camp Freedom.

If you or a loved one has as intellectual, developmental or physical disability and would be interested in attending one of our Camp Freedom Family Day Camps, you can register online at https://form.jotform.com/Twebster/shine-family-day-camp-registration. Additional details are available at www.countrylake.org/summer-activities.

If you’re a volunteer with the Shine Ministry and you want to attend and/or serve with your family at a Camp Freedom Family Day Camp, email sroach@secc.org or call (502) 253-8126 for additional information.

Garett Wall is Southeast’s Shine Disabilities Ministry associate.