Lions Camp Tatiyee
Lions Camp Tatiyee is the only organization in Arizona that provides individuals with special needs the opportunity to spend a week away from home in the White Mountains, enjoying activities and meeting new friends, all free-of-charge.
Lions Camp Tatiyee provides this unique experience to special needs campers in Arizona to empower them to grow socially, physically and emotionally by trying new activities and challenging personal limits.
Since 1958, campers at Lions Camp Tatiyee in Pinetop-Lakeside have enjoyed 40-plus acres of beautiful Ponderosa Pine forest on the Mogollon Rim. Campers have the opportunity to participate in a wide array of programs including hiking, fishing, swimming, go-karting, art, archery, recreation, nature exploration, cooking, mud pit, talent show, dances, and campfires.
Our mission is to enrich the lives of individuals with special needs by providing a life improving experience promoting their emotional health, independence, self-esteem, and confidence, all free-of-charge.
We believe that everyone deserves to be accepted, loved, and respected. Camp Tatiyee upholds the dignity of all individuals, at all times, by embracing their abilities by asking “how” rather than “if.”
We will work tirelessly to always strengthen the relationships we have built with our supporters throughout the years and we will expand awareness to ensure that Lions Camp Tatiyee remains financially stable and true to its mission for generations to come.
For 60 years, Lions Camp Tatiyee has hosted special needs campers ages seven and up. We typically have 10 week-long sessions each summer between May and August, and each session is divided by age so that children and adult campers can experience everything we have to offer in their same age range. Additionally, we set up each session so that campers are with peers who face similar challenges, such as physically-challenged, developmentally-challenged and multi-challenged, as well as sessions for deaf and blind campers.
Challenges that our campers live with include, but are not limited to, spinal injury, cerebral palsy, spina bifida, muscular dystrophy, multiple sclerosis, amputees, deafness, blindness and developmental challenges. Due to the nature of Lions Camp Tatiyee, we are unable to serve most individuals with psychiatric illness, mental illness, or anyone exhibiting aggressive behaviors.
Legacy of Service
In 1950, Lion Jim Busey had the vision to build a camp for individuals with physical and mental challenges. He traveled around the state of Arizona enlisting the support of all the Arizona Lions to construct and maintain a camp for kids and adults with special needs. Through his efforts and the Lions of Arizona, Lions Camp Tatiyee was established in 1958.
In 1960, the camp opened with a solitary cabin and 12 children. Over our 60 years, camp facilities have expanded significantly. Today, when camp is operating at full capacity, we can serve close to 600 campers per season. Camp facilities consist of four dormitories that can sleep up to 125 people in bunks, a dining hall with fully equipped kitchen, recreation hall with theatrical stage, indoor heated pool, art room, outdoor ramada, three staff cabins, nature trails, fishing pond, infirmary, baseball field, basketball court, and a sensory therapy room.
The steadfast support of the Lions of Arizona made this dream come true, not only through generous and consistent financial support, but also through hands-on contributions including building cabins, donating supplies, cleaning the grounds, and planning and hosting events. Camp Tatiyee is truly built on heart and soul.
And, most remarkably, throughout these years of service, the Lions of Arizona have NEVER CHARGED A FEE to attend. The camp is a 501(c) 3 nonprofit operating on donations from Lions, individuals, businesses, corporate sponsors, and grants. Even in these difficult economic times, Lions Camp Tatiyee remains committed to providing an incredible camp experience free of charge to families.