What parents are saying…
“A chance for Brittany just to be herself, no worries, no exercising, no mom nagging at her to get out of her wheelchair to stretch her legs or to sit up. She gets to hang with the girls and have nothing but fun. I am sure that my daughter has created memories that will be cherished for a lifetime.” ~ Ms. Herrera
“Like many moms, I was not sure that anyone could take care of my son as well as I take care of my son. I was wrong. Not only did the Lions Camp Tatiyee do an excellent job with Seth, but they gave Seth the chance to be free, to be Seth.“ ~ Ms. Grogan
“Unless you have a family member who has a disability it is impossible to fully understand what a difference this opportunity makes in a child’s life. Everyone involved should take great pride in their efforts. My sincere compliments to the counselors for their compassion, tolerance and acceptance! This program is one-of-a-kind!” ~Ms. Cisson
“When I arrived in the dining hall, I scanned the room for Katie, and saw a table of kids who looked about Katie’s age. I looked from one camper to the next, trying to find my daughter, but could not. I saw a girl in a wheelchair (not my daughter), a girl with black hair (not my daughter), and a girl who was the center of attention at the table; bright, happy, talking, laughing and engaged. Clearly not my daughter either, as my daughter is quiet and reserved, distant from her peers, and is never the center of attention. I looked to the next table and the next, but still could not find my daughter. Where could she be? I looked again at each table, searching the faces, trying to find my daughter’s…. Again, I clicked off in my head the kids who were NOT my Katie…. the girl in the wheelchair, the dark-haired girl, the boy with the crooked smile, the beautiful girl who was shining brightly as all eyes at the table were on her…. Gosh, I wished my daughter could be that happy and at ease….. I couldn’t find my daughter…… It took me several minutes before I looked back at that first table again and realized that there was something about that girl who was laughing and smiling and making everyone else laugh……..something (perhaps her shirt?) looked familiar…. I stared at her for several minutes and finally realized that she was my own daughter and I literally and truly had not recognized her. It brought tears to my eyes to see her so happy and so engaged. It still does whenever I think about it.” ~Ms. Gleckler
“That first Sunday we left an extremely nervous yet excited “disabled” little girt in the care of the Camp Tatiyee counselors. We spent an anxious week apart from our daughter for the first time in all her 9 years. We returned six days later to pick up our little girl but she wasn’t there……In her place was a young lady with a completely different demeanor.
This Madilynn had a whole new perspective. This young lady had dozens of new
friends….friends who knew what it was like to be “special”….friends who could understand her struggles and applaud her triumphs….These new and amazing friends helped Madilynn to create memories that would have her counting the days until the next camp session! Memories of fearlessly splashing in a pool, dancing for the first time, racing a go-cart, enjoying a warm summer day content in the knowledge that she never need feel alone again. The little girt who had occasionally cried because she was relegated to the sidelines was gone. Madilynn was no longer the odd girt out. The boundaries were gone for her forever!!” ~Ms. Stanton
“Camp Tatiyee changes the lives of these campers, their families and the communities they live in. Because of Camp Tatiyee there is more compassion, more hope for these children and their families. I know that for our Madilynn Camp Tatiyee has meant the difference between dependence and independence. My husband and I used to worry about who would take care of Madilynn when we pass on. We don’t worry about that any longer.” ~Ms. Stanton
“I am here today to say “Thank you” to all of you who make the miracle of Camp Tatiyee possible. You may think that “miracle” is an exaggeration. I assure you that it is not. For our family the result of our daughters, attendance at the camp has been nothing short of miraculous. Because of the acceptance, love and support she receives at Lions Camp Tatiyee, from the staff, counselors and campers she is realizing her full potential on a daily basis. Madilynn was born in 1991 but she started to truly live in 2001.” ~Ms. Stanton
Poems by Junior/Senior High Campers
Camp is my favorite place;
The people are fantastic.
They are understanding and really listen.
They are caring and don’t judge.
They are empathetic.
At camp I feel at peace with myself.
At camp I feel safe.
I know the counselors are always there to help.
CAMP IS MY MIRACLE
Sometimes I look up wondering how I got down here.
Sometimes I just want to get up and walk and leave this chair behind. Sometimes the more involved activities depressed me.
Sometimes people take for granted the ability to walk.
There are times when I am underestimated.
Sometimes I encounter people with the wrong motivation who try and help me.
Most of the time these feeling don’t drag me down, I push on with a positive outlook on life!
Can you see me?
Can you see me beyond my disability?
Are you able to look beyond my leg orthotics and my
Can you see who I am?
Did you know that I am a student?
Did you know that I love being around people?
Did you know that I am an artist?
Can you see me?
Do you know who I am?
Do you know that I am a person?
Do you know that I am me?
Can you see me?
How do I define myself?
I define myself as a sculptor of language
I define myself as a lover
I define myself as a brother
I define myself as a true family man
And most importantly I define myself as a person
Can you see me for who I am;
As I try to see you for who you are?
The Camp Tatiyee staff are amazing
“The staff are the most committed and loving individuals I have ever had the pleasure of encountering. They are empathetic, patient, kind and generous. The counselors treat each camper, and each other, as an individual, and they respect each and every person, be they camper or staff, that they work with. The nursing staff are all extremely experienced and professional, and they take fantastic care of each camper. “ ~Ms. Gleckle
What our staff are saying…
“I can’t thank you enough for teaching, showing, and surrounding me with people that know how to use love when working with campers. Camp truly is a safe place for campers. The patience and compassion that I developed at camp has really helped me find success in so many ways. “ ~Julia Castro
“The magic of Camp Tatiyee changes lives. Camp Tatiyee is a place where people learn to dream and gain skills to make those dreams a reality. Working at Camp, I learned to act with compassion, communicate effectively, honor the needs of others, and laugh often while working hard. The camp experience teaches counselors and community supporters how to care for others, preparing them to give back to society in meaningful ways. ~Elizabeth Bechok
“The most important thing camp has taught me is how to appreciate what life has given you. That above all is something that I will take with me for the rest of my
life. ~Charlie Piermarini
“I always carry camp in my heart…I hope you know that. It became such an influential part of my life; really helped shape the person I am today.” ~Carolina Carbajal
Poem by Onalee Baumgartner, Staff Member
I speak for the ones without voices—
whose words remain trapped in throats,
whose thoughts collect on the edges
of tongues made still by fate,
whose poetry is written
across gaping, patient smiles
and forgiving eyes.
And I speak for the ones without eyes—
who courageously dodge obstacles
and unacceptance, who read with
their hands and trust with their
hearts and feel the sun’s breath on
their outstretched limbs.
I speak for the ones weighed down—
by legs that don’t keep up
with their aspirations, by disgusted
glares and patronizing head pats and
No You Can’ts ringing in their ears.
I speak for those who don’t ask
to be spoken for—who bite their tongues
and dry their tears and live
this messy, gorgeous life,
who are too powerful for pity
and too humble for praise.
I speak for the ticked off, pushed
aside, overlooked, unacknowledged,
weary, aching hearts, whose strength
is superior to any comic book superhero,
who are fighting and singing and
dancing and joking and writing and
loving and inspiring
I speak for myself and I thank you
for blessing me with your vibrant
spirits and brave, true words,
for your laughter and hugs
and presence on this planet.
You are miraculous. ~ Onalee Baumgartner
“It is very difficult for me to leave Camp behind me. What I do know is that I will take with me into the future all the love memories from these times and more importantly I will take with me the love shared by all of us.
Campers are given the opportunity to experience life to the very fullest. They are in fact encouraged to participate and move outside of themselves. For many it is a dream come true, they are finally free to be who and what they are without limits. “~James Rice
“I have learned that each and every person has value and has the potential to make a significant contribution to those around them. I have seen the depths of human compassion and inner strength spill from those individuals perceived to have little to offer to the world. Through the eyes of others, I have been reminded of all of the simple joys and pleasures that I no longer allow myself to revel in. I have been envious of the reckless abandon associated with living without inhibition. I have been awed by the humility and growth that selfless service to others yields. I have discovered the true meaning of friendship. I have experienced smiles and a hugs that have communicated much more than words ever could. I have developed more meaningful priorities in relation to what I want my life to mean in the grand scheme of things.“ ~Heather Ewbank
“Camp Taught me what love is really about and who I really am.”. ~Brian Schlemmmer