AmeriCorps NCCC team assists Camp Courageous Print
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Written by Charlie Becker   
Tuesday, 25 October 2011 10:51
MONTICELLO, IOWA—An AmeriCorps NCCC team is spending nine weeks at Camp Courageous of Iowa in Monticello, Iowa working as camp counselors with special needs adults.

From September 6th through November 8th, “Cedar Three” is serving as camp counselors to help promote a safe and enjoyable week for campers with disabilities.  As camp Counselors they are working with other staff to lead groups of 4 to 5 campers. Work ranges from assisting campers with various camp activities to aiding with personal care.

Camp Courageous is a year-round recreational and respite care facility for individuals of all ages with disabilities. Camp Courageous was founded in 1972 when 40 acres of land was donated for the establishment of a camp for the disabled. The following year, five buildings were built from donated labor and materials. By 1974 the camp had opened and totaled 211 campers. Today the camp is open year-round, has over 150 acres of land with 14 buildings, and annually serves over 6,000 campers, ranging in age from 1 to 105. Camp Courageous runs solely on donations.  Due to the popularity of the camp, many people with disabilities are put on a waiting list. By having an AmeriCorps NCCC team of ten people serve as camp councilors, over 100 people have been taken off of the waiting list.

This is not the first time Cedar Three has volunteered at Camp Courageous. The team painted staff dormitory rooms in March as part of their first project working together. During their three day stay, they had the opportunity to get familiar with the campus and meet some of the campers. Cedar Three also had the opportunity to spend time with the campers at the weekly dance that takes place on Thursday nights.

According to Team Leader Drew Simmons, Cedar Three Corps Members were apprehensive of the personal care aspect of the project because they had not had experience with it before but have accustomed to the process, “Everyone was nervous at first because it was something they had not done before, but they have been doing a great job. It’s not easy work but it means so much to the campers and other counselors that they are getting this kind of help.”

According to the Camp’s Volunteer Director Shannon Poe, Cedar Three has been a big help, “They have been a great addition to the camp staff and they are wonderful with the campers. It’s always great to have AmeriCorps NCCC come and help us out because we don’t get as many volunteers as we would like to.”

After serving as camp counselors, Cedar Three will travel back the main base in Vinton, Iowa to conclude their Corps year with a graduation date of November 17th.

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