June 14-18, 2014
The start of the 28th Annual National Wheelchair Sports Camp.
Today (14th), was a week that I had been looking forward to for quite some time. Wheelchair camp…something you probably have never heard of unless you already know of Ironwoods Springs Christian Ranch. Thanks to the EXO fraternity at Luther College and SCI CAN, Abby Theisen (C4-C5 quad), Taishia (friend of Abby’s), and Nancy (caregiver of Abby’s) were able to attend the camp free of charge with Tanner (my friend), Emily (my girlfriend), and I. I had no idea what to expect at this camp… I have been to some really nice and fun camps but I have also been to some really bad and boring camps. In addition, none of those camps were remotely accessible. This camp turned out to be a very nice and fun camp! We did the following activities from Saturday to Tuesday: Tennis, wild wave, basketball, dodge ball, softball, minute to win it, zip lining, boating, kayaking, paintball, and horseback riding… We had so much fun! Not to mention the food was soooooo good, thinking about it makes me hungry!
However, by far the best part of the camp was the people. I met some of the nicest and most amazing people, Bob Bardwell (founder of the ranch/camp) and his family were so kind and helpful. I got to know the other campers really well and they all have a story to tell. Many of them have a spinal cord injury like myself and face many challenges. The friends that I met I hope will last a lifetime. I hope through my speaking and foundation that I can help them make their life more enjoyable.
This camp had a great influence on me. Lessons learned: 1. Dreams do come true: just Pray, Work Hard, and Be Patient. Bob worked for nearly a decade to build up an accessible ranch and lodge that could house anyone with a disability. He has helped build an unbelievable facility that has touched the lives of so many suffering from a disability. It solidifies to me that my dreams of building a wellness center that is all accessible, establishing hospitality homes for neurological disorders, and walking on my own are all possible. 2. YES scI CAN (you see what I did there?) this camp really showed to me and all the campers that just because you are in a wheelchair does not stop you from having fun! Abby is a perfect example. She has little to no movement below the shoulders… But that did not stop her from zip lining! Ok yeah she screamed so loud that everyone within a 100 miles heard it but hey she did it! Imagine free falling on a zip line 50 feet in the air through the woods and over a river when you have no control over your body… IDK about you but that would freak me out, I do not think I would have done it.
PRAY, WORK HARD, BE PATIENT
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