1992 - Volume #16, Issue #2, Page #17[ Sample Stories From This Issue | List of All Stories In This Issue | Print this story | Read this issue]
Camp For DisabledA rustic rural camp that's designed to give disabled people a chance to rough it has come up with some new equipment that allows people in wheelchairs or with other serious disabilities to really get outdoors and enjoy it.
Camp Freedom was founded by Canadian Andy Stone several years ago. He got the idea after attending a sportsman's show where he noticed a number of people with disabilities looking around the show with disappointed looks on their faces because they couldn't take part in many of the activities. As an accomplished welder, he felt there ought to be a way to put a wheelchair behind a horse and make other outdoor activities accessible to the disabled.
He established the camp on acreage just north of of Bowden, Alberta and this year nearly 800 people attended from June 1 through early October. Unlike other camps for the disabled, the camp is rustic and doesn't have all the conveniences of home. It's designed to give people a close brush with nature, while still keeping safety in mind. The camp has 15 cabins and can sleep 40 people.
One of Stones most popular creations is his specially-built wheelchair wagon that'll carry up to four wheelchairs and several other people in bucket seats. Two independent platforms carry the riders who are carried smoothly over rough ground by flotation tires mounted on walking beam axles.
Probably the most popular event is hot air ballooning. Stone designed a basket with a bucket seat in it. A person with a disability is strapped into the seat and there's still room for two more people - an attendant and the pilot.
Other activities include motor-boating, fishing and rafting. "Or, if people just want to stay in their cabins, they can do whatever they want," Stone says.
He estimates 15 to 20 percent of his clients come from nursing homes. The camp is funded in part by the campers, who pay about $150 per day, and also by a yearly fund-raising effort which last year raised almost $500,000. It costs nearly $600 a day per camper to run the camp. Stone says they never turn anyone away, whether they have any money or not.
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Andy Stone, Camp Freedom, Suite 103, 339 50th Ave. S.E., Calgary, Alberta Canada G2G 2B3 (ph 403 299-2888).
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