Rose Lake Youth Camp offers programs

ROSE LAKE — Hopes are high that the necessary “at least five people” will become part of a new camping experience at Rose Lake Youth Camp in northern Osceola County next week. Without three more special needs, high-functioning children or adults to become the makeup of the “at least five,” there will be no such camp this year.

And what a shame that would be for the two already signed up. It all happens July 5-7.

The camp could take as many as 40 such campers, according to Amber Kelso, a representative of RLYC. “We’ve been told we’re the first camp in the area to offer such an experience for residents of Osceola County. We also have grant money through the Osceola County Community Foundation that would help pay the way of the first 23 campers,” she explained.

She said the concept is to give those with disabilities a chance to enjoy nature, be a part of a day camping experience, do crafts, explore nature, enjoy music and singing, take part in non-competitive recreation and games, and get involved with “Wet-N-Wild” water activities such as fishing, wading, and swimming.

The Discovery Day Camp will be under the direction of Rosemary Thiebaut, an interpretive naturalist with years of experience in providing environmental education and recreation therapy programs. These includes programs with individuals who have cognitive and/or physical disabilities.

Thiebaut has degrees from MSU and the University of Michigan, and has spent her entire career working with children, youth and adults in camps and school programming.

The camp staff includes certified lifeguards, health officer, camp counselors, and culinary staff. In addition, the entire staff attends a week-long training program that includes First Aid, CPR, waterfront and boating safety. Special training is also given in working with children and adults who are cognitively impaired.

In addition, the camp doctor is on call.

Cost for the camp is $125, which includes all programming and meals. The menu at Rose Lake Camp follows USDA dietary guidelines and can be modified for specific campers needs.

The Discovery Day camp will have a staffing ratio of three to one. The camp begins at 9 a.m. with check-in and group activities throughout the day, ending at 3:30 p.m. Kelso said arrangements may be made should a bit earlier time for drop-off or a little later time for pickup is necessary for any of the campers due to parents work hours or other obligations made known early on.

To determine whether your family member would qualify, contact Rose Lake Youth Camp at (231) 768-4351 for more information. If the potential camper qualifies, $60 toward the $125 fee for those first 23 campers would be applied.