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Camp Victory cancels in-person camping for 2021

Daily Item - 4/11/2021

Apr. 11—MILLVILLE — Camp Victory canceled in-person camping for the second year in a row.

The 130-acre camp in Millville that hosts thousands of kids with special needs and serious health issues will not have camp this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. From spring to fall in years past, each week a different partner hosts camps for kids with cancer, spina bifida, heart disease, autism, kidney disease and many more.

"A lot of campers are immunocompromised or immunosuppressed," said Camp Victory Executive Director Jamie Huntley. "We just couldn't take any chances this year with their health. It's very sad. It was something our board struggled with, whether or not we felt comfortable having our kids back at camp."

The "mission, spirit, enthusiasm and activities of Camp Victory" will continue virtually through its Facebook page, Instagram and YouTube accounts, much like it did last year, said Huntley.

"Our kids liked staying connected, but it certainly wasn't like being at camp," said Huntley. "They missed the comraderarie. They like to come here and do all the wonderful activities with each other."

Students in the Child Life Program at Bloomsburg University and students in the physical and occupational therapy programs at Penn College will be helping Camp Victory with the virtual programming. Most will be pre-recorded and include activities like arts/crafts, yoga, movement activity and connecting to nature, shesaid.

"They'll be available for any of our campers," she said.

The camp is handicapped-accessible — for example, the tree house has a ramp and the zip line and rock wall have specialized equipment. And there's a Med Shed where kids can get their medical care — even chemo. Camp Victory has 25 different partner groups that hold camp each year.

"We'll be back stronger than ever in 2022," said Huntley.

Northumberland County BH/IDS does not have a partnership or any contractual agreement with Camp Victory; but like county families, schools, private social service agencies, and other public social service agencies, they do refer children to the programs offered by Camp Victory, said NC BH/IDS Children's Program Specialist Bill Brecker.

"Camp Victory is an asset to the area youth, and canceling of in-person programming is unfortunate, but COVID creates an understanding of this apparent decision to cancel," said Becker. "Although the valuable services provided by Camp Victory are unique, our area is fortunate to have dedicated schools and social workers who are accustomed to finding creative supports for youth when services A, B, and C are not options."


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