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Attention all campers!
So you love to visit with Cricket on Carnival Day, but wish that you could ride?  Now you can take a virtual ride on Cricket with special narration, just for you! Just watch the YouTube video below.

Richard (Cardo), one of our resident/missionaries that lives here at Camp Daniel, has had a long standing love of nature. It is one of his life’s dreams to run the nature center when camp officially opens here on the Athelstane grounds. With this passion, Cardo naturally has connected with one of camp’s long standing volunteer and friend, Greg, who leads archery and nature presentations during our summer camps. For several years, Greg has taken Cardo ice fishing here on Little Newton Lake.

This year, Cardo envisioned using a sled to carry all his ice fishing gear out onto the lake. He drew up some plans of how he wanted it. However, he needed some help with the actual construction. His brother Nick has been developing his carpentry skills over the last couple years here at camp, as he helps in all the construction projects. Therefore, Cardo asked if Nick would help build the sled. The two of them worked together and finished the sled. They make a great team as Cardo often comes up with great ideas and Nick has the skills to make it happen.  cardo-sledcardo-sled

Camp Daniel is a great environment for its residents and missionaries to dream, grow in a variety of skills, and help each other make their dreams happen. The ice fishing sled is a great example of that! Furthermore, with the help of the Camp Daniel community, Cardo can achieve his goal to run the nature center someday.

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The lake finally has ice on it and Cardo is ready to go…….maybe when it warms up a bit!

As November comes to a close, we want to recognize and honor all those who care for others as November is National Caregivers Month. Here at Camp Daniel, right after New Years, the phone calls start coming in asking when will camp applications be available. Often, this is followed by a conversation, where a caregiver, usually a parent, shares how tired they are and how they need a break. At some point during our camping season, we will engage with a parent who is overwhelmed by the stress created by living and caring for a child who is living with a disability. For many of our families, their child attending camp is the only break they get through out the year.

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We often talk about the benefits of our campers attending camp, but there are benefits caregivers receive by sending their family members to a week of camp. These benefits are both emotional and physical for a caregiver.

  1. Regaining perspective- a caregiver can have time to step back and re-evaluate life. So often care givers are caught in the day to day demands that they struggle seeing the big picture.
  1. Identity- caregivers can often lose sight of who they are when caring for persons with disabilities. In reality, caregiving is only one aspect of who a person should be but, over time, it is easy for an individual to devote ones time to just the person living with a disability. While a camper attends camp, a caregiver can rediscover and acknowledge other parts of who they are.
  1. Ability to socialize– living with a disability is often isolating for the person living with disability and that sense of isolation often carries over to the family. Having a break allows the rest of the family to reconnect with one another and it allows caregivers to spend time with friends without the added pressure of feeling they have neglected the person for whom they are caring for.
  1. Rejuvenation– Caregiving can be physically, emotionally and spiritually exhausting. Having a week off from the daily demands of care giving can help a caregiver cope with the exhaustion.

Many of you are reading this blog and wondering how this may pertain to you. First, if you are a volunteer during our summer camping season, thank you for coming and serving. You have helped give someone a much- needed rest. Remember, summer counselor/volunteer applications will be available starting in late winter or early spring. When you decide to spend a week here at camp, you give a camper and their family an opportunity to experience joy and rest! During the rest of the year, you can build friendships in your local community with families who many need breaks, which can happen through your local church or one of the many organizations in your local community that support persons with disabilities. If you need more ideas, contact lauralee@campdaniel.org

Over the years, the team at Camp Daniel has volunteered with Special Olympics whose mission is to provide year-round sports training and athletic competition in a variety of Olympic-type sports for children and adults with intellectual disabilities. Many of you might think this seems like an odd use of our time, but in reality, it is an extension of what we do here at camp, developing and maintaining relationships with campers. Camp Daniel campers and residents enjoy competition and being apart of the team working toward a chance to go to state. Pastor Tim, Amanda and Paul all assist with The Able Attack, which is connected with The Able Church and many of our residents, compete at different times through out the year.

November is a busy month for state Special Olympics competitions. The Able Church of Green Bay competed in the state volleyball tournament on November 5th in Watertown. The team took second place within their division and was very happy with this outcome.

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Here’s the Able Attack team and its faithful volunteers!

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The Burys with Tina Russell

Marceaux, Jen, and MJ help with the Marinette County Special Olympics program. They just had their state-bowling tournament in Green Bay at Ashwaubenon Bowling Lanes last weekend.

Working with Special Olympics brings many benefits to Camp Daniel’s organization. Beyond connecting with campers, the team gets to connect with group home staff, family members and interact with other folks, who may want to come to camp as a camper or a volunteer. Special Olympics have a solid reputation in the community and through many of their community efforts we are able learn areas we might advocate for within the disability community.

For The Able Church agency in Green Bay, it has drawn in many athletes that have not been apart of The Able Church before. It has allowed for athletes a way to put into practice the things they learn at The Able Church. Furthermore, it has allowed athletes to be an example of Chist-like character at tournaments, playing against other teams. The Able Church is the only church team represented out of hundreds of Special Olympic teams throughout Wisconsin. It also allows The Able Church (and Camp Daniel) to get its name more recognition and connect people to our ministries.

The Able Church Special Olympics continues to look for volunteers to help with coaching the teams, giving rides, and agency administration. If you would like to be involved, please contact Pastor Tim at tmandich@new.rr.com

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On Halloween, the disability community in Marinette held a potluck dinner and dance. It was well attended with roughly 75 attending the event. Several groups within the disability community gathered together including the S.I.G.H.T. program, which puts on events for individuals with disabilities, The Ecumenical Bible Class for Adults with Disabilities, and Marinette County Special Olympics.
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Camp Daniel missionaries, the Burys, participate in all three of these groups; therefore, they enjoyed the opportunity to untie together. The night was fun as many dressed in costumes, shared a meal together and then danced the night away.
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Dancing is one of the most enjoyed activities within most, intellectual disability communities. Dances are held on a regular bases at sheltered workshops, Special Olympics, and especially during our weeks of camp. It isn’t until the music starts and the first dance begins campers and counselors alike begin to feel at ease and connect with each other. Almost every theme meal and evening activity during the camp season consists of dancing.

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We often have people ask, why we spend so much time with music and dancing? This goes back to our purpose as a camp staff, which is to be missionaries into the disability community. Part of being a missionary is understanding the cultural norms for the people group one works among, in this case, this disability community! Within this culture dance is highly important. Dancing is one of those tools we use to break down the walls and tends to unite us together. Dance is the number one tool to connect and reach out into the disability culture. It is a natural, innate activity that the disability community is attracted to and connects to like no other. It is an activity that anybody can participate in no matter their level of intellect or ability to socially connect.

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Dance 4 Disability (D4D) was started by Camp Daniel and other Green Bay organizations that provide opportunities for people with disabilities. Its purpose is to gather the many circles within the disability community in Green Bay and celebrate people with disabilities. It has been a great success, with an average of 250-300 attending for the past several years. It is always held the first Saturday of June at the Grand Pavilion at Beach in Green Bay. This year’s event will be held on June 4th. Put is on your calendar and join us!

There are several other organizations and churches that put on dances for people with disabilities. Recently, staff member from Camp Daniel participated in a formal dance event , A Night To Remember, put on by Hartland Church in Sun Prairie. Gals with disabilities had the opportunity to have their hair and make up done, and pick out jewelry. Everyone enjoyed a limo ride, a photo shoot, and an opportunity to walk The Red Carpet before they entered the dance party. Check out this video of the event! http://heartland.cc/sunprairie/stories/

Other organized dances include A Night To Shine through the Tim Tebow Foundation.  Like everything else here at Camp, we cannot do what we do without partnerships with other churches and organizations. Camp Daniel staff member, Laura Lee, has been developing relationships with people, organizations and churches for an event like this to happen in the Green Bay area and recently received a grant from the Tim Tebow Foundation to put on A Night To Shine. So far, Camp Daniel, The Able Church, and Green Bay Community Church have partnered together for this event, which will be held at Green Bay Community Church on February 10th, 2017. This event will take a lot of manpower and we continue to look for volunteers and partners. Check out this video about A Night To Shine https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tPUcw0Q5UEI

If you would like more information about how you can volunteer or partner with either Dance 4 Disability or A Night To Shine, please contact Laura Lee Wright at lauralee@campdaniel.org

October matters in the world of disability, it is National Disability Employment Awareness Month! Although everyone here at camp has chosen to volunteer our time and give of our talents, we still value a strong work ethic.

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Here at Camp Daniel we value work. Over the years, Little Tony has worked to instill a good work ethic in everyone that lives in our community homes. This is a daunting task for many reasons. Culturally, there is not the expectation a person living with a disability could engage in full time work. Another reason the task can be daunting is because each individual learns differently because of how their disability effects them. Here at camp, every few weeks another opportunity arises where new skills are learned.

 

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Each of our residents has an area they appear to excel at here on the grounds. Jake loves the fall and being able to rake leaves. Jake is most satisfied when he can be interacting with people in a ministry setting. Many of us could not function with out Brian, who has the ability to anticipate what tool will be needed next and has the uncanny knack of knowing where tools and equipment are- even when the rest of us don’t have a clue. Richard seems to be a jack-of-all-trades he hangs drywall, cleans, and is often Tony’s right hand man when Tony is working on a project. Nick has become an expert in the area of hanging sheet rock and plastering. He continues to learn the skills to lead the rest of the team when Tony can’t be around to give direction. Chalsee continues to develop her skills in the realm of hospitality, crafting and childcare! When you talk with each of these folks they talk about what they do with great pride. On the grounds, they all enjoy showing people the work they have accomplished.

Chalsee Kitchen

We write this blog because other than needing Jesus, employment is one of the biggest needs within the disability community. Camp Daniel strongly believes we are all made with a purpose. God created all of us for work; work was part of God’s design even before there was sin and the design does not exclude persons with disabilities. For 70 years, the government has determined we need to focus on employment for those with disabilities, yet less than half of individuals with disabilities make a living wage. These numbers are even lower if you have a significant disability or an intellectual disability. Over half of the disability population lives in poverty. Yet many of those same individuals long to work and have the same opportunities the world around them have been given. A living wage and meaningful work leads to a better quality of life.

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Here at camp, we value work! Unlike many other people, the folks who chose to live here at Camp Daniel need extra supports to fulfill their God given dreams and purpose. As a community, we get to be involved in the process of individuals, especially those with disabilities, working in their areas of passion. Nothing excites our team more than the day we have a team in place where people are learning the spiritual value of work, and where people are working in their areas of passions.

 

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Our long-term dream is to use Camp Daniel as a training center where people of all abilities learn trade skills including hospitality, carpentry, and simple mechanical skills and landscaping to then gain meaningful employment. We are a long ways from that dream, but in the mean time we can encourage each of you to do something right in your own community.

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Many of you are decision makers or have influence with decision makers in your work places, you may want to advocate for persons with disabilities to become a part of your workplace either through employment, internships or through volunteering. Research indicates people with disabilities are more dependable and miss less work than their typical peers. For those of you who have experienced relationships with our campers, you know that the gift of friendship is invaluable, would it not be exciting to develop relationships like this in your workplace?

To learn more about how to effectively advocating or building friendships with those who have disabilities at your job contact Laura Lee at Lauralee@campdaniel.org

Why do we choose to focus our ministry within the Disability Community? One of the main reasons is that Daniel, whom the camp is named after and who had a disability himself, had a vision and dream to impact the disability community. That vision spread to his parents and siblings, and then, over time, to all those who have been involved with the ministry for the past 20 years.

Here are some of the reasons Daniel passionately pursued, and why we continue to pursue, ministry within the Disability Community.

IMGP3402Christian Community Living:  At the time Daniel was a young adult; there typically had only institutional settings with no community structure. Group homes have developed over the last several decades, however today most lack Christian values and tend to focus on the individual instead of creating community and family within the home. For these reasons, Camp Daniel has sought to provide living options that would create an environment founded on Christian principles.

relay_05Summer Camp: Summer camp played an important role in Daniel’s life. It was where he first felt called into ministry and learned about God’s plan for his life. It was camp for people with disabilities, which helped Daniel see his value and of others with disabilities. This was also where Little Tony truly experienced what a real relationship with Christ meant. It was from this experience that he felt called to pursue Christian camping for individual with disabilities. Traditionally, camps around the nation lack a Christian component. Camp Daniel has sought to provide an atmosphere of fun, family like summer camp opportunity that would instill value to campers and counselors alike, sharing the love of Jesus and his gospel.

Winter Retreat ChapelThe Able Church: After about ten years of doing summer camp, it became evident that there was need for a church centered within the Disability Community. Traditionally, campers would have a wonderful week at camp, growing stronger in their relationship with God. For many, it was their first encounter with the love of Christ. Then, when they returned home, they typically would not be connected in their local church and would not have any spiritual connection for the next year until they returned to camp. There are several reasons for the lack of connection to a local church The biggest reason is that campers didn’t have a ride or someone in their life to make sure they get to church. If they did get to church, they often found it hard to connect and fit in. Church communities typically have not valued persons with disabilities presence to make sure they are present or thought through ways they may have an active role in a church community. The service itself typically is designed for highly educated individuals, making it difficult for individuals with intellectual disabilities to understand and apply the message of the gospel.

For these reasons, Camp Daniel sought to create church centered in the disability community. The church is a place where all are welcomed and valued. It is a place where relationships are fostered and spiritual growth can happen on a weekly basis. Members activity participate within the Church, using gifts that God has given them. Furthermore, there are opportunities to learn biblical teachings in a simplistic and real way.

Those are some reasons specifically why we focus our ministry in those three areas. As a bigger picture, there are several other reasons why we do what we do. In Mark 16:15 Jesus commands us to “Go into all the world. Preach the good news to everyone.” This included people with disabilities, who are often overlooked by the church. We believe that God has made us, loves us, and has a plan for our lives. This includes all of us. Much of the disability community does not believe this. They are often told that they are a mistake, a result of sin, and that they are not a part of God’s perfect plan.

In John 13:34- 35, Jesus says, “If you love one another, everyone will know you are my disciples.” If we want the world to know the love of Jesus, we need to love. Within Camp Daniel, there is a love like no other. People are captivated by and drawn to it. They experience the love of Jesus like never before.

If you have been compelled to share in this mandate, there are many ways you can team up with us. Bring a group to camp for a workday, host an Able small group in your area, visit your local group homes, participate individually or as a group in our summer camp season. Please inquire how you can get involved at info@campdaniel.org

Construction on the Camp Daniel grounds continues. Here, Tony and Richard are putting up shelving and hanging work lights in the garage.

 

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During our last work day, corrugated metal was installed on the interior walls of the garage. Not only does it look nice, it creates a nonflammable protection to the walls.

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A shop sink and counter was installed.

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More work benches and storage were put in.

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Lots of storage for nuts and bolts was mounted. Volunteers, as well as our Camp Daniel Missionaries, spent several hours sorting and organizing.

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Marceaux’s garage office was completed. Manuals for Camp Daniel vehicles and equipment are stored here.

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The old garage is being converted into a small theater, an indoor recreation area, and a costume storage area. At our last workday, volunteers helped hang sheet rock on the stage area.

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As it is the fall season, Camp Daniel missionaries have been busy taking care of the grounds and getting it ready for winter. The docks were taken out. Benches and picnic tables were put away for the season. Gardens are being cut down and plants transferred. Here, Chalsee and MJ are carrying a pile of cut plants to the weed pile. Chalsee serves much of her time watching MJ, allowing Jen to accomplish her tasks.

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Off the grounds, at the Brunot House, Tony, Richard, Nick, Brian, and Jake have all been working hard on constructing a shed for yard and garden equipment and firewood storage.

There is always work to be done! People often ask us when they can come and help. We often reply, “Everyday is a workday!”  If you would like to help, please contact us as info@campdaniel.org

We do have two more scheduled workdays for the fall. Follow this link for more details and to RSVP! http://www.campdaniel.org/fall-work-days/

Many people wonder what our missionaries do outside of the summer camp season. Besides tending to the physical grounds here at camp, workdays, and already preparing for next year’s camp season, our missionaries are highly involved in the disability community throughout the state.

Pastor Tim, Amanda, Laura Lee, Intern Paul, Chalsee, Jake, Nick, Richard and Brian are all involved with The Able Church in Green Bay. This community was formed about 10 years ago. The need was found as it was realized that most campers were not connected to spiritual communities after they returned home from summer camp.

The Able Church runs a weekly Friday night service all year round and a Tuesday Family Night, which runs September thru May. The Family night consists of a Special Olympics sports practice, followed by a pizza dinner and Bible studies.

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Here are pictures of the picnic kicking off of the Family Nights for the year. The Special Olympics sport for the fall is volleyball. Camp Daniel and The Able Church values the involvement of Special Olympics as it is a huge part of our local disability communities. The Able Church is the only church agency in the state. It is a great opportunity to be a christian presence and example within the disability community.

Richard, Nick, Brain, Jake and Chalsee all have active roles serving The Able Church. They also participate in the Special Olympics program and Family Night, providing them opportunities to reach out to other members and build relationships.

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Jen, Marceaux, and MJ are very involved within the disability community in Marinette. They are involved with Special Olympics there and are currently volunteering with the bowling season.

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The Burys are also involved with an ecumenical Bible Class for people with disabilities. This group was formed roughly 30 years ago by individuals in the Marinette community. They help teach and are leaders within the group.

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The Burys also created and lead a game night at Abundant Joy, a local coffee and gift shop in Marinette. This is a night to gather individuals within the disability community for an evening of pizza and games, building friendships.

Pastor Tim is also holding an Able Church service in Oconto at  the Woodland Village Nursing Center at 6pm on the first Thursday of each month.

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Laura Lee is also involved with a program in Green Bay called Young Life Capernaum. This is an arm of Young Life, which is a christian organization reaching out to high school students. Capenaum specifically reaches out to students with disabilities. Camp Daniel and The Able Church values involvement with this organization as it is a great way to show the love of Jesus and connect students with camp and The Able Church.

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Our intern, Paul, is a leader with the Crivitz Youth Group. This is a good way for Camp Daniel to provide a positive impact on the lives of youth and build relationships. It is because these relationships that many of these students come to camp as CITs (Counselors in Training).

At Camp Daniel, we strive to provide opportunities to build lasting relationships. This is vitally important for everyone, but it is often more difficult for people with intellectual disabilities. If you live in Marinette, Green Bay, or Oconto areas, please consider connecting with any of these activities and join in our mission to build relationships.

Here are some specific ways you can be involved. The Able Church in Green Bay needs drivers to drive members to Friday evening services and Tuesday Family Nights. Their Special Olympics agency could use coaches in volleyball, basketball and bocce ball. They can also just use general volunteers to assist with the sports.

If you would like more information or would like to be involved with any of these activities, please contact us at info@campdaniel.org.

 

On September 10th, Camp Daniel hosted its 20-year celebration and a dedication ceremony for the new multipurpose building. Despite the heavy rains, it was a great turn out and a wonderful celebration. Roughly 250 people who have been involved with Camp Daniel ministries attended.

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There was a self guided tour of the grounds. At each building, or point of interest, there was a sign with the brief history of that building along with before and after pictures. There were also signs posted for future buildings and plans showing what the building could potentially look like when it is completed.

The day was a celebration of all God has done in the last 20 years and a reminder we need to continue to rely on God for our future as our desire is to have all the buildings completed by 2020.

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During the ceremony, Tony Sr. and Little Tony shared moving reflections of the past 20 years.

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Jen lead the Bell Choir that consisted of campers and volunteers that attended. Pastor Tim officiated the dedication of the multipurpose building. Jim Hukill and Jerry Bruette opened and closed the ceremony with prayer.

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After the ceremony, we served chili dinner and had a corn roast at camp’s lakefront. It was a great time of celebrating and connecting with longstanding friends and new ones.

Camp has grown significantly over the years. Check out a quick comparison from the first camp to our most recent camp.

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Our first camp in 1997
Weeks = 1
Campers = 15
Counselors = 20
Workers = 9

Our most recent camp in 2016
Weeks = 5
Campers = 207
Counselors = 189
Workers = 254

We are grateful to all those who have volunteered, donated, and participated in the vision and ministry of Camp Daniel over the past 20 years!

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