RICHARDTON -- Campers and their counselors walked hand-in-land from one activity to the next. They played kick ball together, petted the farm animals and played games with a parachute -- and that was just for one hour. For the afternoon that day, they were planning a trip to the Badlands Bible Camp in Medora.
Founded in 1975, Camp ReCreation is a Christian summer camp for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Activities like crafts, music and games are melded together with faith formation, and of course, friendships that last a lifetime. The camp is divided into two sessions between June 9-21.
Counselor Adreia Sanchez and her camping partner, April, loved the petting zoo provided by the Krebs family.
“This is my first year, it’s a good time always,” Sanchez said. “Honestly it’s so fun I’ve been wearing a smile the entire time.”
Counselor Caden Kuntz was matched with Austin, a camper who noted, “I don’t know how long I’ve been coming, it’s because of all my friends.”
Experiencing camp for the first year, Kuntz said, “I think this organization is awesome. It’s a great experience for sure. I’ve never done anything like this before -- I just took a chance, a leap of faith. I’ve had a great experience so far and it’s lots of fun. I’ve learned a lot from the campers.”
One of five camp co-director Danelle Hoff was a little girl when she came to Camp ReCreation with her sister and mom, Mary Hoff, who was a volunteer at the time.
“I guess I’ve been involved since I was able to walk,” she said.
Other co-directors include Lisa Lawrence, Jackie Lausch, Chelsea Hartman and Ashley Rebel.
Counselors are paired one-on-one with a camper for the week.
“Basically, we become a whole another family away from home,” Hoff said. “Camp ReCreation installs endless values for those who participate and volunteer.”
In addition to music and crafts, campers can expect to see a magician, the DFy Dance Co., fireworks and their favorite -- the banquet and dance.
“It’s their mini-prom, we start with the banquet, the grand march and dance,” she said.
Hoff credits the camps longevity to the volunteers and sponsors who have worked behind the scenes for more than 40 years.
“It’s those big smiles when they come through the door that makes everything worth it,” she said. “It makes all those days of planning worthwhile -- they bring a lot of joy to your heart.”
To keep updated on the camp’s activities, visit Facebook - Camp ReCreation.