Camp Dream will go on.
The camp for disabled youth and adults won’t be at Roosevelt Warm Springs this summer, but camp will be held and it will be able to accommodate all registered campers, according to Camp Dream Director Gary Marshall.
Camp Dream was facing a summer without camp following an ongoing dispute with the Georgia Vocational Rehabilitation Agency, which owns the camp facility in Warm Springs.
Instead, Camp Dream is now partnering with Camp Grace.
The single Camp Dream session will be July 28 to 31 at the Camp Grace facility in Roberta. Those are the dates that Camp Dream’s fourth camp session was originally set to be held.
Camp Grace is a sleep-away camp for underserved youth from urban areas. The 300-acre camp serves thousands of children each year.
“We’ve had a relationship with this camp for a while. While all this was happening with Roosevelt Warm Springs, we reached out to them and they were able to somehow make it work with their schedule,“ Marshall said. “They offered us a refuge for all of our registered campers. They are accessible. It was a great solution for us."
The facilities are handicapped accessible to serve Camp Dream participants with mobility issues.
“There are certain amenities that may not be accessible for the campers, but we haven’t offered those amenities before,” Marshall said.
“There are certain things that we didn’t even have in Warm Springs. We’re pretty excited about that as well,” he added.
Camp Dream had 200 registered campers before the announcement in early June. Now, with cancellations, there are about 150 campers registered. Officials said there is also a waiting list, and now some people on the waiting list may now get to go to camp.
Having that many campers at once instead of over four sessions is a change, but the camper-to-counselor ratio is nearly one-to-one with current numbers, Marshall said.
The organization won’t be trying to come to terms with GVRA.
“Our board recently voted that we would not pursue the Roosevelt Warm Springs property,” Marshall said.
Several months ago, Camp Dream purchased a former Girl Scout camp in South Georgia near Cuthbert. The camp property needs extensive improvements to accommodate campers with various health issues.
“We’re determined to use Camp Grace temporarily until our new property is developed and we’re able to hold our Camp Dream program there,” Marshall said.
While Marshall said they are happy to have found a solution to save the summer camp, the move isn’t without its challenges.
“We’re a little apprehensive… but we’re up for the task and we’re determined to make this the best summer camp session ever,” Marshall said.