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I have the privilege of living on 55 beautiful acres along the Guadalupe River in Center Point. My home for nearly 14 years has been Camp CAMP, which provides recreational programming for children and adults with developmental, intellectual, medical, behavioral, and physical disabilities. CAMP stands for Children’s Association for Maximum Potential.
I’ve been involved with camps for children with medical conditions or disabilities since a summer job after my freshman year in college way back in 1992. That was in Little Rock, Arkansas, and I’ve lived in a number of different places since then: Mississippi, Florida, Virginia, and even Rockport on the Texas coast. Still, something always seemed to be calling me to the Texas Hill Country, and when I was alerted to a job opening at Camp CAMP, I knew it was an opportunity I had to explore.
We have a whole community of people who live here at the camp year-round. Currently, there are six households with a total of eight adults, three children, and more dogs, cats, and other pets than I can count.
I live in an apartment on the second floor of a building that also provides additional accommodations for short-term guests during both summer camp and school-year programs. I have a private deck outside my back door that has a second-story view all the way to Kerrville and beyond. On that deck, I have a hot tub, and nothing is more relaxing on a chilly night than enjoying a soak while looking across the vista to the lights all around the Hill Country — and perhaps even more spectacular sights from the stars in the big Texas sky above.
Beyond the natural beauty of the Hill Country property, it’s the community of dignity, respect, support, and love that is created here for individuals with medical conditions or disabilities and their families that makes Camp CAMP so special. Hundreds of high-school and college-aged volunteers and health care professional volunteers also spend anywhere from one weekend to one or more weeks each year as part of this community.
One of my favorite roles at the camp is that of CAMP DJ. Whenever we have a dance or a karaoke activity, you’ll find me spinning the tunes and providing the soundtrack to the love, laughter, and life that are celebrated during these activities. At CAMP, traditional camp activities like karaoke, horseback riding, canoeing, swimming, and archery are adapted, and campers are supported to meet their specific needs. I love being able to help create these experiences for our campers and their families.
When not actively hosting camp programs or taking care of other necessary tasks around the property, it is great to simply enjoy nature hikes, access to the Guadalupe River (one of my favorite spots is a beautiful little cove with cypress trees along the river bank), or listening to an audiobook while swinging in one of our “Swingzebos.” Giving treats to the camp’s horses, goats, and other critters is also a great way to spend some downtime.
After living in so many other places before making my way to the Hill Country, I feel truly blessed to have found a home here. I spent six and a half years living on South Beach in Miami, and while the cultural opportunities there were incredible, I always felt a little cramped with so many people living in such a small space. The Texas Hill Country, and specifically Camp CAMP, have been the change of pace I was looking for.
The natural beauty of the area, the great friends who live and work with me full time, as well as those who come to volunteer for one program or one season at a time, all come together to create a home like no other.