New space for special needs campers to learn and grow
After a dramatic realization during a Special Friends Day Camp in 2012 Laurie Fertello, Disabilities Ministries Director, realized the importance of further developing the spiritual ministry of Warm Beach Camp’s Special Friends Day Camps. The program had been growing by leaps and bounds since 2006 and now averaged over 50 campers plus buddies per camp. Laurie was now on a path to help each camper better understand and know Jesus Christ.
One problem the Special Friends Day Camp had consistently faced is that there was no place for all campers, buddies, and leadership to meet and learn together. There was no place that was both big enough and handicap accessible.
But in the spring of 2013, the Lord sent to Camp a team of four men from Mobile Missionary Assistance Program (MMAP). These men spent three weeks painstakingly building a brand new amphitheater that can now accommodate 130 people. Now there’s plenty of room for the Special Friends Summer Camps, and it’s even handicap accessible.
So in 2013, Special Friends Camps began having chapel together each day. Sister Sparkles (Margaret Spears) led each day’s devotion with enthusiasm in the center of the newly built amphitheater. Campers looked from every angle. At the end of each week Sparkles would invite campers to make decisions for Christ. Through this, the Lord carried out the plan he has for every person on earth. Campers began accepting Christ into their lives. By the end of the third week of Special Friends Day Camp, over 50 campers had made decisions to make Jesus their Special Friend.
Warm Beach Camp’s Special Friends Day Camp is one of the few camps in Washington State that serves persons age 15 and up who have special needs. Just one hour north of Seattle in north Snohomish County, Special Friends Day Camp offers campers amazingly creative camp activities in a highly supervised, supportive setting. Each camper is matched with a volunteer “Buddy,” who engages with them in the camp experience. For more information on attending or volunteering at Special Friends Camp, visit https://www.warmbeach.com/programs/special-needs-programs.