By Devynn Barnes
Since 1955, Camp Riley has been putting smiles on the faces of children with physical disabilities, and giving them confidence as well. This summer, three Zionsville children will have the chance to travel to the camp in Martinsville, 20 miles south of Indianapolis for the summer adventures of a lifetime.
“She looks forward to Camp Riley more than Christmas,” Zionsville resident Heather Ztezl said about her daughter, Sarah. Sarah, who is 11 years old, will be attending Camp Riley for the fourth time this summer. “It helps her just with independence and being around other kids with disabilities. They work on a lot of goals throughout the week,” Ztezl said.
Camp Riley has five different camp sessions throughout the months of June and July, each held at Bradford Woods, Indiana University’s outdoor recreation facility. The Camp started as a partnership between Riley Children’s Foundation and IU, and now serves nearly 250 children a year. Jason Mueller, the director of regional communications for Riley, talked about the positivity time at camp can bring to children’s lives.
“Camp Riley is available to all families and all children regardless of family’s abilities to pay… it’s truly an incredible opportunity for children with physical disabilities,” Mueller said.
Thanks to Riley Children’s Foundation and donors, no child is ever turned away because of inability to pay for camp; the swimming, hiking, horseback riding, climbing, canoeing and other activities at Camp Riley are available to all children with physical disabilities.
The theme for Camp Riley 2014 is “Around the World,” so kids like Sarah get to experience “new adventures from around the globe” without leaving Bradford Woods. This year, the group of campers will represent 10 different states and 60 different Indiana counties, and as a three-year camp veteran, it looks like Sarah will represent Boone County well.
Donors interested in providing the Camp Riley experience to Indiana children with the gift of a campership should contact the Riley Children’s Foundation. To find out how to send a child to camp next summer, visit rileykids.org/camp or call 634-4474.