As this year’s KAMP Dovetail winds down, spirits were not dampened by Thursday’s rain, even with the campers gathered in the Hillsboro Elementary building due to wet weather.
KAMP (Kids And Motivated People) Dovetail Director Linda Allen said that except for the planned outdoor activities of riding horses and fishing, the kids were doing everything they would have done at camp.
Campers were spread throughout the school’s two cafeterias — some were doing crafts or playing cards and board games, while others were watching television, napping, or just chatting with one another. The gym was alive with activity as other campers and their volunteers played games like basketball and cornhole.
The summer camp for kids with disabilities is in its 34th year, and in that time KAMP Dovetail has served thousands of special needs campers.
“It’s more than just camp,” Allen said. And as she gazed out on all the campers playing in the gym, she said it’s also a week where these kids get to be kids and do what they can’t do in the everyday world. This one week a year, she said, is their world.
Allen talked about the decision to bring the campers to the elementary school following Thursday morning’s viewing of the film “Surf’s Up” at Star Cinemas.
Rain started pouring while they were at the movie, she said, and Allen and staff decided to be proactive and avoid any potential issues from a muddy camp and cooped-up campers and head to the school.
Last year, Allen said campers had to be evacuated from KAMP Dovetail due to nasty weather. Avoiding that scenario was in her thoughts, she said.
Thursday’s wet day followed Wednesday’s perfect weather, and Wednesday evening’s annual carnival and fundraising auction.
Allen said more than $5,000 was raised from the auction, which included sports items, gift baskets, and four cheese cakes, the latter of which were made by Hillsboro’s Beate Biggers.
Allen said the cheesecakes brought the most money for the KAMP Dovetail fundraiser. She said one of them sold for $1,000, a purchase by Rep. Cliff Rosenberger.
Thursday is the last night for campers and as with previous years it is the night for a hog roast and birthday celebrations.
Two hogs were donated by the Highland County Pork Producers and were prepared by Caleb Hill Concessions. Potatoes, provided by Ponderosa, along with grilled corn on the cob were also on the menu. Following that, birthday cakes bearing the 2015 KAMP Dovetail theme of “Around the World in 5 Days” were to be enjoyed by campers for birthdays being celebrated this week – 23 of them – Allen said.
The 285 campers this week made up 10 different groups, each representing a different country. They created flags in keeping with the theme, and also learned “please” and “thank you” in the language of their country. Campers were encouraged to use these newly-learned phrases in the dinner line each evening, Allen said.
More than 700 volunteers are a part of this year’s camp. Allen said Thursday was “GE day,” with General Electric employees, all wearing purple shirts, volunteering from morning until evening.
With the potential for more inclement weather on Thursday, Allen said the campers would have their hog roast meal and birthday cake and ice cream at the elementary school, then return to camp for the dance held each year on the last night of KAMP Dovetail.
Campers will take part in more activities on Friday, including an awards ceremony before leaving in the afternoon. Volunteers will stay through Saturday to clean up the camp.
Reach Angela Shepherd at 937-393-3456, ext. 1681, or on Twitter @wordyshepherd.