Empower Me Day Camp gets tropical

Empower Me Day Camp held an open house Wednesday for the public to help get their name out to the community. Assistant Director Britney Wilkerson said the nonprofit group for special needs children wanted to make sure people in the area knew who they were and some plans that they have for ...
Jul 17, 2013
 Photo: Caitlin Rickard • Lebanon Democrat

Empower Me Day Camp member Aldon Hillard blows bubbles outside with counselor Destni Eaton.
 Photo: Caitlin Rickard • Lebanon Democrat

Mayor Philip Craighead presents a check from Whip Crackin' Rodeo to Empower Me Day Camp director Michelle Hill. Pictured are camp members (from left) Jack Schultz, Gabby Conklin and Cuyler Hillard.

 

Empower Me Day Camp held an open house Wednesday for the public to help get their name out to the community.

Assistant Director Britney Wilkerson said the nonprofit group for special needs children wanted to make sure people in the area knew who they were and some plans that they have for the future.

“We’re wanting to build our own building out here at Wilson County Fairgrounds that’s actually ours,” Wilkerson said.

Wilkerson said their hope for the building is something that the county would own but that Empower Me Day Camp would have top priority of during the summer and some during the school year.

“In our big plan we are the ones funding it so we wouldn’t have to raise taxpayer dollars for the building,” Wilkerson said.

They have raised enough money to build a splash pad for water play and the plan also includes an Astroturf Miracle League field, a playground tailored to children with disabilities and a covered sports pavilion.

Right now, Empower Me Day Camp rents building “B” at Wilson County Fairgrounds.

“I call this our home,” Wilkerson said. “We always have this building and keep all of our stuff here, but we hope to have a building of our own to call home in the future.”

Empower Me Day Camp is in it’s 15th summer, and camp and is in session for three weeks in June and three weeks in July. Each week camp holds 25-32 children ranging in age from 5-21 years old. Every disability is seen at camp, from Down Syndrome to physical and hearing impairment.

“Applications for camp are sent out in March and we’re usually full by the end of April,” Wilkerson said.

Each camp week is a different theme from cowboy to carnival and now tropical.

Daily routines include gross motor activities outside and fine motor activities, usually a craft, each day.

“The kids do get to play in the water at least once a day,” Wilkerson said. “And the fire truck comes on Thursdays so that’s always a big hit.”

For their gross motor skills activity, the children played Hawaiian volleyball and pineapple bowling with a coconut.

On Wednesday, Director Michelle Hill received a check from Whip Crackin’ Rodeo for $3,000 presented by Mayor Philip Craighead.

“We help organize events with Whip Crackin’ Rodeo and help come up with different activities for the day so they decided to give us a generous donation,” Hill said.

Throughout the year, Empower Me Day Camp holds different events like Christmas Camp, Spring Fling, Easter Egg Hunt and Fall Sports Fest.

Empower Me Day Camp’s next fundraiser is Summer Swinefest on Aug. 3 at 6 p.m. at College Hills Church of Christ.

 

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