West Side Story

West High takes on Camp Courageous

Students attended Camp Courageous, a program that focuses on inclusion for those with special needs, on May 1-3.

Elise Seery, WSS Intern

When most people think of camp, they imagine packing up their bags and leaving home for the summer, but this week West High Students ventured to Camp Courageous in Monticello, Iowa. Camp Courageous is a year-round camp and respite facility that focuses on inclusion for those with special needs.

West Students have been attending Camp Courageous for 21 years. Ziplining, farm experiences, canoeing, fishing and tree climbing are among the many activities that camp attendees can choose to partake in. Their facilities are handicap accessible which allows students of all ability levels to participate in activities.

Jaden Buckley ’19, a student who attended Camp Courageous this past week, enjoyed the adrenaline rush that accompanied some of the more daunting camp adventures.

“My favorite thing to do at camp is the zipline, because it makes me feel like a bird,” he said.

The philosophy at Camp Courageous regarding activities is “challenge by choice.” This means that participants can choose which activities they want to do and the extent to which they do it it. This mindset furthers the camp’s ability to insure that everyone is having fun.   

According to Laurel Haverkamp ’20, president of West’s Best Buddies, inclusivity is a hallmark of the Camp Courageous experience.

“Camp Courageous is important, because it provides a safe environment for people of all abilities to step out of their comfort zone and have fun,” she said.

Camp Courageous accepts children ages three and up in order to promote this safe environment throughout the course of people’s lives. Places like Camp Courageous celebrate inclusiveness for all and are places of positivity and acceptance. The smiles on everyone’s face at the camp show how meaningful camp truly is.

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West High takes on Camp Courageous