Camp Wamp is a summer camp for children with physical disabilities. The traditional camp experience was cut short due to the pandemic. This year, instead of campers heading to the Sierra, California, Camp Wamp Across America is coming to them.
“Just because the camp isn’t taking place, we can still find connections across the country and make this thing as much like Camp Wamp as possible,” said Joe Wampler.
Wampler is the son of Camp Wamp founder Stephen Wampler, a 52-year-old man with cerebral palsy who used a wheelchair to get around. Wampler wanted kids like him to experience the great outdoors.
“Growing up with a dad in a wheelchair who never let anything stop him, it has always been very difficult to find excuses in my family,” said Joe Wampler.
Rather than sit still for another year because of the pandemic, young Wampler and four of his friends embarked on a tour across the country to bring Camp Wampler to the children. Their stops included Denver, Jackson Hole, and North Texas at the Flying 5B Ranch, where campers had a safari-style tour to see the animals and spend the day fishing.
“I think it was one of our best stops yet,” said Wampler. “Every time I see one of these kids overcome something that he didn’t think he could do, it’s a change of perspective for me. Everything that happens in my life, everything that I struggle with seems so smaller than before. “
Camp Wampler Across America is planning an upcoming stopover in Phoenix.
“Each of these children can have an independent life and do all of the things that each person aspired to,” Wampler said.