Civitan hosts special needs camp in Biloxi - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Civitan hosts special needs camp in Biloxi

Campers participated in a variety of activities including water wars (Image Source: WLOX News) Campers participated in a variety of activities including water wars (Image Source: WLOX News)
Counselors sing along with their campers (Image Source: WLOX News) Counselors sing along with their campers (Image Source: WLOX News)
BILOXI, MS (WLOX) -

Thanks to one of South Mississippi's newest chapters of Civitan International, the coast now has its own version of a popular special needs summer camp. About 13 students took part in this first ever overnight summer camp in Biloxi.

"This is about an opportunity for kids with special needs to have a camp experience," said Honey Leblanc, who is one of the organizers.

This is the first ever special needs summer camp hosted by Coastal Civitan of Harrison and Hancock Counties. The chapter was charted in fall of 2014, and this camp has been one of their passion projects.

"We started out with $400 in our pocket for the club, and we've had to raise over $10,000 this year," said Leblanc.

About 13 students were registered for this year's camp, which included a two night stay at Camp Wilkes in Biloxi. Each camper was paired with a volunteer, but one camper had a little extra supervision from his big sister who happened to be a counselor.

"It's cool because I, like, always dropped him off at camp and stuff. So, it's cool that I can actually experience it with him," said Lindsay Lemier.

Each camper was assigned a counselor, who helped them get the couple nights away from home.

"I really think that the counselors learn as much and get as much from it. They learn empathy, and they learn patience, and they learn what it truly means to give of oneself," said Leblanc.

The counselors and staff were all volunteers, and one of those volunteers in particular was very excited about this new opportunity to give back.

"My favorite part is just the adventure and the smiles on the little kids' faces. And the great thing about volunteering is that not only does it benefit you, it benefits so many other people," said Reagan Barr.

There were about 30 counselors involved in this year's camp. Organizers hope to see more students get involved in the program each year.

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