Wonderland Camp for children with mental and physical disabilities needs a little touch-up this time of year. That's why members of the Missouri Jaycees, a group of young adults between the ages of 18 and 40, are volunteering their time this weekend to clean up, repair and overall prepare the camp for the kids. The volunteers say Wonderland Camp is their favorite project of the year.
Missouri Jaycees President Kristen Johnson said, "Just to see the smiles on their faces makes all the difference in the world."
Thanks to volunteers from Jefferson City, Columbia, Boonville, Fulton and other cities across the state, attendees at the Lake of the Ozarks camp will soon be paddling in boats and playing in a wheelchair-accessible tree house. It isn't often a child in a wheelchair gets to experience the fun of tree house.
Missouri Jaycees Chairperson Trisha O'Cheltree said, "This is the one thing they look forward to every year. They love the camp. They dream about it. They can't wait for all the new and exciting things that we add to the camp every year."
Camp organizers said it's usually all about the children. However, this weekend, they say it's all about the volunteers from the Missouri Jaycees.
Jaycees volunteers not only work in the springtime to set up, but they'll be back in the fall to winterize the camp. Camp organizers said they couldn't do it without them.
Thanks to donations, each child pays $575 for six days at the camp. The actual cost is about $800.
Wonderland Camp Director Jason Hynson, "We want to be able to give them an opportunity to come outdoors. Our mission is provide a fun, outdoor recreational experience. We want to provide respite for the parents and caregivers. We are also going to develop that generation that is going to serve individuals with disabilities."
Wonderland Camp is open from Memorial Day through Labor Day.