23 Mar ABC News 4 Camps4Kids: Camp Rise Above looking to build overnight facility (WATCH VIDEO)
CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) — Summer will be here before we know it and that means summer camp. Here in the Lowcountry, there is a one-of-a-kind camp for those with special needs. It’s called Camp Rise Above.
It all began at a bible study just like this one eight years ago.
“We were studying a series on Henry Blackaby of experiencing God and one of the guys raised his hands and said you know I think this group is being called upon to make a difference in our community,” said Barbara Van Thullenar Denton, founder of Camp Rise Above.
So Barbara and those in her bible study went home to pray about it.
“My impossible dream is to build a camp in Charleston, South Carolinaan overnight camping facility that would serve children from all over the state of SC with serious medical illnesses,” said Van Thullenar Denton.
Barbara spent years caring for sick children as a hospice nurse.
“I have been doing camps for children for 26 years and I have seen up close and personal the incredible value of a camping experience for these children,” said Van Thullenar Denton.
Whether these kids are dealing with the challenges of heart problems, sickle cell, epilepsy, or other illnesses, it’s a chance to just be kids.
“When the children are around people who are just like themselves and they are not special, they are not identified by their illness or somebody who you can pick out of a crowd and so as a result of that they just get to be themselves and they get to be their age and they get to be the kid who really can look at a challenge and say, give me an opportunity to do that, let’s do that, we can do that!” said John Carroll, Camp Rise Above board member.
The camp’s motto is “giving the kids strength for the journey”. The camp provides kids of all abilities the chance to climb walls and go down water slides.
And thanks to the support from Denton’s bible study group, the dream is slowly becoming a reality.
There are seven different 2-day camps at James Island County Park.
The ultimate goal is still to provide the opportunity for an overnight camp. Barbara and the other Camp Rise Above board members believe one day their prayers will be answered.