An Unbreakable Spirit
About Camper Tollsyn, as told by his family
By eight years old, Tollsyn has had over 25 surgeries and over 250 broken bones due to Osteogenesis Imperfecta (OI), known by many as brittle bone disease. He is an incredibly happy boy who has a pure joy about him all the time; his smile melts the toughest of hearts. Tollsyn loves sports and is almost always found in some type of activity revolving around them.
We found The Center for Courageous Kids when Tollsyn was around three years old. Our first weekend at camp was eye opening; it was truly a miraculous weekend. Tollsyn was with a group of 30-40 kids just like him, kids who really understood, parents who really understood the joys and struggles in this life of brittle bones. Our son had the best time at camp, enjoying all they have to offer. The staff is a group of the most amazing people I have ever met, and they truly love our OI kids. We return time after time to camp and Tollsyn has more fun every time we go. He looks forward to seeing his old friends and making new ones.
The Center for Courageous Kids holds a piece of my heart, and as a mother I cannot express the impact that this camp has had on my son as well as our family’s life. Camp will forever be a place that is a second home to us, a place that we will have fond memories of and a place that we will enthusiastically rave about to anyone that will listen!
Memories and Love
About Camper Allan, as told by his mother Janet
Allan is now in Heaven. I lost him before his 20th birthday. To see his eyes shine when it came to CCK camp time filled my heart with joy. I try to go there every 5 years to see the tree the camp planted in memory of him. It is planted by his favorite place - the barn. As I write this, the tears fill my eyes both because I miss him and because of my love for the Center for Courageous Kids.
As a heart transplant recipient, he had the opportunity to attend camp. It was the one camp that would accept him as he was and he looked forward attending camp every year. In fact, Allan loved the Center for Courageous Kids so much that when he turned 16 he became a camp counselor-in-training; and at age 17 he became a camp counselor.
The Center for Courageous Kids is a wonderful place for children with all types of illnesses. Each week of camp is dedicated to a different condition. There is week for cancer patients, a week for physical disabilities, a week for heart patients, and the list goes on. They even have a family week there. CCK means the world to me.
CCK Camps Support Families
as told by mother Melanie
Our family has been coming to CCK for family retreats and summer camp since 2009. We are a large family with 3 children in wheelchairs, 2 of whom are medically fragile. We regard CCK as a refuge and the happiest place on earth ("Disneyland" for special children like ours). It has also been instrumental in helping my husband and me nurture our marriage as we build our own memories both when our children are away at the week-long Physical Disability summer camp, and also during the family weekend retreats. These retreats enable us to "be ourselves" and have carefree fun in a loving, supportive, and most encouraging atmosphere!
The camp staff and counselors are a joy to our sometimes weary spirits. We leave each time feeling refreshed, renewed, and ready to face our daily trials and struggles again, but each time with a lighter weight on our shoulders. We feel absolutely blessed and thankful for the opportunities that CCK has brought to our family! Our children are happier. Our marriage is stronger. CCK feels like a kiss from God.
Soul Music - About Camper and Violinist Rebecca – as told by Rebecca
ABBY – insert 6th photo of Rebecca w violin
I've been playing the violin since I was eleven and, in that time, I've developed a greater appreciation for the positive impact music can have on people. Playing the violin has become my greatest avenue for self-expression and allows me a creative outlet to share a part of myself with others. I feel that most people enjoy music on some level, whether they're listening to it, singing it, or playing it, so it wasn't surprising to see my fellow campers experiencing that enjoyment at the Center for Courageous Kids, where music therapy is an integral part of so many camp activities.
What impressed me so much about camp was that, regardless of any individual barriers, CCK made music accessible for every kid there. It didn’t matter whether they had previous musical experience OR they discovered the sense of bonding that music can bring once they got to camp and sang with new friends. Many campers heard their thoughts and feelings translated into notes and verses…all while being around those who loved and accepted them on sight.
A Bright Future
As CCK approaches its 11th summer, it is focusing on creating more programs to inspire campers to BE MORE…Confident, Creative, and Courageous. With the help of individual donors, healthcare partners, volunteers, and foundations like the Tony Stewart Foundation, CCK will continue to provide NO COST camping and life experiences to medically fragile children in need of respite, recreation, and education.
For more information about The Center for Courageous Kids visit:
https://courageouskids.org | FB @centerforcourageouskids | Twitter @WeAreCCK | Instagram @thecenterforcourageouskids