KAMP Dovetail held for 43rd time


The 43rd KAMP (Kids and Motivated People) Dovetail event began the morning of Monday, June 17 at Rocky Fork Lake State Park and will run until the morning of Friday, June 21.

KAMP Dovetail is a five-day, four-night annual volunteer-run summer camp serving children with special needs. More than 300 special needs children attend the camp each year, and it is supported by as many as 500 volunteers.

The camp primarily serves special-needs children in Adams, Brown, Clinton, Fayette and Highland counties but is available to those in 30 of Ohio’s counties.

Each child at the camp is teamed up with a personal volunteer to ensure the best experience for each of them.

Activities at the camp include horseback riding, fishing, radio-controlled boat racing, whiffle ball, arts and crafts, whiffle ball and miniature golf.

The band Blue Steel performed for the camp on the first evening of the camp, which also included a dance and fireworks.

“We contracted with a group that brought a train in and brought the kids all through the park,” KAMP Dovetail Director Linda Allen said.

Allen said the Tuesday of this year’s camp featured an Anything on Wheels Show that included trucks, antique cars, bikes, scooters and lawnmowers.

“We just thought it would be neat for the kids to see those vehicles,” Allen said. “A lot of them had never been to a car show.”

The campers voted on the top three vehicles in the show before participating in a scavenger hunt.

Some of the campers also visited the nearby Highland County Airport on the Wednesday of the camp.

“We actually got to see a helicopter land and one take off,” Allen said.”

A carnival and auction were also events scheduled for Wednesday.

Thursday’s camp activities include a trip to the movies and a pig roast.

“We have a DJ coming, and we have a closing ceremony and our dance,” Allen said.

The last day of camp will include breakfast and an awards ceremony before the children depart for home.

Allen has been working at the annual camp for 36 years, and she said the kids and the people who serve them are what keep her coming back.

“Being able to do something really special for a child that doesn’t get to do a lot of these things because they have a disability just warms my heart, and I have a child with special needs, so I know what it means to families,” Allen said.

The camp was founded by Dough Rudolph, who was a psychologist at the Hopewell Center in Hillsboro.

“He wanted to do some kind of a special summer camp for kids, but there wasn’t any program locally, so his idea was to take regular education kids and put them with special needs kids and dovetail them together for a week of fun,” she said.

Allen took a job as the fundraiser for the Hopewell Center 36 years ago and eventually became the director of KAMP Dovetail.

“Support from our community is the most important thing for us to keep going in this day and age with costs rising,” Allen said. “If it wasn’t for this support, I couldn’t do it.”

Reach John Hackley at 937-402-2571.

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