Wetherbee in town promoting Camp ASCCA
Allison Wetherbee is proof one doesn’t need hands to mold young lives or legs to blaze a trail.
On Monday, Wetherbee, the current community relations director for Camp ASCCA (Alabama Special Camp for Children and Adults) Easter Seals, was visiting local civic groups, sharing the message about the state’s special camp of therapeutic recreation for children and adults with both physical and mental disabilities.
Located in Alabama on Lake Martin, Camp ASCCA is open year round and offers campers a wide variety of recreational and educational activities. Activities include horseback riding, fishing, tubing, swimming, environmental education, arts and crafts, canoeing, a “splash pad,” outdoor adventure elements like the zip-line and much more.
“It’s my job to promote Camp ASCCA’s mission and goal, which is to help individuals with disabilities achieve equality, dignity and maximum independence,” she said. “I’m proof of that.
“I’m able to use my job to share my experience as a camper and what we do at Camp ASCCA,” she said. “It’s the greatest job.”
Wetherbee said those attending the camp are in for a “full camp” experience. Campers must apply for admittance, and there are several camping opportunities.
Weeklong summer camps are held in June through August. Cost is $695 per camper. Weekend camps are available throughout the year and vary in cost.
“First off, no camper is turned away because of their inability to pay,” she said. “In fact, 90 percent of our campers can’t pay the full summer fee, so we have a campership program to cover the costs the camper can’t.
“That’s why donations, like those given by the local civic clubs like Pilots, Kiwanis and Rotary, are so important,” she said. “So when you give to these local organizations, it helps tremendously.”
This year’s annual campership goal is $200,000, she said.
“The experience that these children and adults get is exceptional,” Wetherbee said. “For example, most children take sliding down a waterslide for granted. At Camp ASCAA, every activity we do is completely accessible.
“So, you can imagine someone in a wheelchair is not going to try and go down a waterslide, because there are steps to get up there,” she said. “I’m happy to say that last year, at age 39, I went down my first waterslide, and it was amazing. Those are the kinds of experiences we provide.”
Campers are broken down into age groups, not by disability, she said.
“This way, campers learn from their peers, make friends with their peers,” she said. “And, for them, there’s really no time to be homesick – they’re too busy.”
Potential campers or those looking for more information about Camp ASCCA may visit www.campascaa.org.
To read more about Wetherbee’s life journey, pick up her autobiography released in 2009, “I Was Born This Way.”