This year Camp Fish Tales celebrates 25 years of giving local kids and adults with disabilities a location for great summer fun.
On Sunday, May 19, the camp invites members of the community to celebrate with them. They are hosting a luncheon, camp tours, and other activities. Plus, runners can take part in the Annual 5k Family Fun Run and Walk.
As for the campers, many of them are excited to head back to camp this year.
"I just want to kick back, I want to catch a fish," said 8-year-old Louise Reid, as she looks forward to her second week of camp this summer.
"She's been talking non-stop about fishing," said her mother, Jennifer Reid.
Camp Fish Tales is a camp specially designed for campers with disabilities. It caters to all ages, and all challenges, whether physical or cognitive. They have separate weeks planned every summer for adults and children. It's located on 66-acres in Pinconning, right on a lake. The entire camp is barrier free and has a sensory room. That's something very important to Reid, as her daughter is on the Autism spectrum.
"It put my mind at ease," said Reid, "that she was going to be around people who know how to handle it if she has a meltdown or things like that."
Shannon Forshee, the Executive Director of Camp Fish Tales, says this camp is made for the campers to just have some fun.
"They get to do a lot of exciting activities they normally wouldn't do," said Forshee.
Jim Smith has been going to Camp Fish Tales every summer for 25 years. He says he enjoys interacting with people who face many of the challenges he does every day.
"Anything I can do," says Smith, thinking about his favorite camp activities. "I'm a card player and a checker player. I like to be around people."
He says anyone thinking about coming to camp shouldn't be worried. The counselors are trained to help various types of disabilities.
"Come out," said Smith. "If you're afraid, don't be afraid. There are people here to help you. You will enjoy yourself."
Forshee says seeing the joy in her camper's eyes, and the change they make at the end of the week, is the best feeling in the world.
"We had a camper who was non-verbal and wheelchair bound," said Forshee of a former camper. "The counselors were getting ready to take them all down to the water to go swimming. They wheeled him down and transferred him in the water. He was laying on his back and said, 'I'm walking.' And that right there is why we all are here and do what we do."
For more information on Camp Fish Tale's 25th anniversary, visit campfishtales.org.