Volunteers repair camp for people with disabilities after vandals cause $15,000 in damage

Lions Camp Horizon, a Washington state nonprofit that creates summer-camp experiences for teens and adults with disabilities, was struck with devastation earlier this year when vandals broke into some of the dormitories and caused property damage worth an estimated $12,000 to $15,000.

The facility hosts around 250 campers per summer and has been a staple to the Birch Bay community for 45 years. While some insurance might cover the damage, the camp runs on a very lean budget, so the staff was worried about repairing everything in time for the summer.

But then members from AmeriCorps NCCC and volunteers from local businesses came together to give the camp a much-needed makeover.

After 3,300 hours of work, Lions Camp Horizon looks better than ever. The volunteers focused on building repairs, landscaping and increasing accessibility throughout the grounds — which included improving access to the fire pit for campwide gatherings and building risers by the beds so that those with limited mobility could exercise more independence. 

"That little bit of extra dignity ... to not have to ask for help for something someone can do on their own if they have the proper accommodation, is really important," said the camp executive director Tera Contezac to K5 News.

Lions Camp Horizon's first session started in the beginning of July. Each session is six weeks long and is open to anyone with developmental and medical disabilities who are 12 and older. Campers can participate in crafts, bowling, horseback riding, archery and theater.

With this makeover, Lions Camp Horizon can comfortably and confidently host its campers without worrying.

"We simply couldn't exist without our volunteers," said Contezac.


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