Camp Victory provides accessible, inclusive atmosphere
Each year from spring to fall, Camp Victory, 58 Camp Victory Road, Millville, PA, comes to life with the laughter and excitement of hundreds of kids. The camp opened its doors in 1994 and has since hosted nearly 30,000 overnight campers and counselors, but Camp Victory is not just any regular camp. Camp Victory was built specifically for children with special needs and serious health issues, including cancer, diabetes, autism, brain injuries and heart disease, among many more.
“Instead of missing out on summer camp or being the kid with unusual circumstances,” said Kate Pacacha, resource development associate for Camp Victory, “at Camp Victory, everything is adapted for accessibility and the kids are with other kids in similar circumstances.” For example, the treehouse has a ramp for kids who use a wheelchair or walker. Camp Victory eliminates the obstacles children with special needs often encounter so they can enjoy their time at camp to the fullest.
“Campers love that they can … enjoy all of the many camp activities without limits,” said Jamie Huntley, executive director of Camp Victory, who adds that the camp is especially amazing because campers get to be with other children that have the same challenges that they face every day. It’s a place where lifelong friendships and memories are made, and it is all thanks to Lois and Dennis Wolff sharing a dream with a few close friends in the summer of 1986.
The Wolffs’ son, Nicholas, had been born with life-threatening liver disease and was recovering after a transplant at just 18 months old, said Pacacha. Camp Victory was back then and still is today a place to celebrate life’s triumphs and share their struggles with others who were going through similar experiences. Huntley has a deep attachment to the Wolffs’ mission, as she was Nicholas’ preschool teacher.
Huntley, who is a cancer survivor herself, understands the difficulties Camp Victory campers experience. “I know how frequent medical appointments can seemingly take over your life and how important it is to have some ordinary life experiences that don’t revolve around being ill,” said Huntley. She is proud to be part of the Camp Victory team, who create amazing adventures for kids who otherwise would not have access to summer camp activities.
Kids can enjoy the zip line, archery, biking, arts and crafts, a game hall, playground equipment, an environmental center, walking trails and even more – there is no shortage of fun to be had at Camp Victory. There is even a Med Shed that provides medical attention on campus. “Kids can even receive a chemotherapy treatment while at camp and get right back out to the fun,” said Pacacha. Camp Victory has thought of everything to make campers’ lives as easy and carefree as possible.
Camp Victory is also a member of the Susquehanna Valley Chamber of Commerce, as well as the Columbia Montour Chamber of Commerce, and has recently joined the Williamsport/Lycoming Chamber of Commerce. “We are always looking to increase our family of campers, volunteers and donors,” said Pacacha, and joining Chambers of Commerce is one of the best ways to gain exposure and increase public awareness of what we do.
“It is a magical place where campers make lasting memories and experience countless victories all summer,” said Huntley.
Camp Victory’s upcoming fundraising events include a 5K on August 24 hosted by West Williamsport at Indian Park in Montoursville and Dr. O’s Victory Ride on August 25 at Camp Victory in Millville.
Event details and more information about Camp Victory can be found on their Facebook page or at campvictory.org.