Volunteer staff at Camp Horizon offer a healthy camp for kids with disabilities

Camp Horizon, a unique camping opportunity for patients of Children’s Hospital and other children in our region, celebrated its 11-year anniversary last month.

Eleven years ago, Lindsey Sharpe — a physical therapist at Children’s Hospital at Erlanger — had a dream to create a camp for children with physical disabilities. The overnight camp idea was inspired by the patients Lindsey cared for at the hospital.

Knowing the majority of summer camps are not always geared for her patients, Lindsey created Camp Horizon, through Camp Lookout in Georgia, to offer children with physical challenges the opportunity to swim, canoe, make crafts, sit around a campfire, and enjoy all the other camp experiences other children have the opportunity to participate in. The camp is offered at no cost to the families and is supported by local organizations and private donors. For some of these families, it is the only night of the year their children spend the night away from home.

During its first year, Camp Horizon had 10 participants. A decade later, Lindsey offered the camp to approximately 40 campers this past summer.

The volunteer staff at Camp Horizon offers a one-to-one camper to counselor ratio as well as volunteer medical staff to ensure each child’s needs are met. By collaborating with the UTC Physical Therapy program, the camp provides a safe and special place for children but also creates a valuable learning opportunity for the next generation of therapists.

For Lindsey, the camp has not only changed the lives of all the campers, it has also had an impact on her life.

“I truly feel it was a calling to provide an opportunity for these children that they wouldn’t otherwise have,” Lindsey added.