Camp LIFE, an inclusive camping opportunity for children with disabilities, celebrated its 10th anniversary during its fall 2014 session. The camp was founded in 2004 by Texas A&M graduate student Sterling Leija (Class of ’02) with the support of Dr. Amy Sharp, director of the Family Support Network at Texas A&M University.
Camp Life collaborates with Camp for All, a camping and retreat facility that provides life changing programs for children and adults with disabilities, and is the only camp that does not discriminate based on disability. LIFE, an acronym standing for Leadership, Independence and Friends through Experience, is what the Camp LIFE experience is all about.
The College of Education and Human Development is incredibly involved in Camp LIFE, offers pre-service teachers the opportunity to serve as volunteers or camp counselors to gain field experience in a unique setting. Students from Texas A&M help to facilitate Camp LIFE while also gaining rare experience that they will one day be able to carry with them to their future classroom. The counselor to camper ratio also ensures that each camper with a disability receives the support he or she deserves to fully participate in the camping activities of their choice.
Camp LIFE has helped more than 600 students with disabilities with the help of the college. “It would be impossible to carry out Camp LIFE without Texas A&M,” stated Leslie Neely, doctoral candidate in the Department of Educational Psychology (EPSY). “A&M offers the support and outreach for families and does all of the behind the scenes work to ensure that everyone who is involved is qualified and prepared.”