By Dave Ongie, News Editor
After starting Camp Cliffview back in 2014, Helen Berry now finds herself in a good place. The trial-and-error that comes with any new endeavor is in the rearview mirror, and the summer memories are piling up for children who suffer from chronic medical conditions.
Camp Cliffview, a series of one-day summer camps, wrapped up its sixth year of operation earlier this month. Each camp allowed 20 children to experience a day full of crafts, snacks and outdoor activities while under the supervision of highly qualified counselors.
Berry said she took great delight in watching new and old campers push the limits of their abilities in a quest to have some fun.
“It’s just neat to see a lot of the returning campers, because they just do a little bit more every year,” Berry said. “They have a little bit more confidence about their skills, they’re more excited about camp, and they comment on how brave they are.”
Indeed, camp day is routinely circled on the calendar each year by the campers and their families, and Berry is able to deliver thanks to a great deal of support from the community. A group of occupational therapy and physical therapy students from Milligan College and ETSU serve as counselors, which provides parents and caregivers with peace of mind.
This year a group of physical therapy and occupational therapy students from Emory & Henry traveled to Appalachian Christian Camp in Unicoi County to help run some camps in July. Berry always marvels at the army of volunteers that mobilizes to help make the camp a reality each year.
“Every year we have tons of volunteers that are willing to help out,” she said. “I don’t know how they hear about us.”
The reward comes in the form of a returning camper who is able to do a little bit more than they did last year, or in the form of a new camper who enters the day a bit apprehensive only to leave with a smile on his or her face.
“That’s why we keep doing it, just to know that this day is really, really important for the kids and the families,” Berry said.
To donate to Camp Cliffview, visit summitlife.org. Those interested in more information about the camp or how to volunteer next summer can visit www.campcliffview.org or visit the camp’s Facebook page.