Rotary summer camp helps disabled children

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By Jeff M. Hardison

"Service Above Self" is the Rotary Club motto, and Chiefland Rotary Club members learned on March 19 about another place where they can serve by donating funds.

Rotary Youth Camp is set to give some special children an enjoyable six days and five nights this summer during two separate sessions, said Leslie C. Smith, the camp's executive director. The 12 days of summer fun comes at a price.

Marking its fourteenth summer this year, Rotary Youth Camp serves a particular type of child who is aged between 7 and 16 years old, Smith said.

Children with Spina Bifida, Cerebral Palsy, Muscular Dystrophy, terminal illnesses, Down Syndrome, amputees and with other special needs are qualified for this camp.

Counselors give special care to these children, some of whom are completely dependent on someone for everything. Some of the campers require feeding tubes, colostomy bags and other mechanical aids, Smith said. Some children must be washed, fed and clothed.

"We give their parents a much-needed break," she added. "Even when children with special needs are in school, they still come home at night."

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