Lauren Harmison is a 2009 graduate from the Associate of Science with a major in Nursing at IPFW. In 2014, Lauren started Camp PossAbility.
What is Camp PossAbility and what made you decide to start the camp?
Camp PossAbility is a one week adapted summer camp that serves young adults ages 18 to 35 with physical disabilities who have a typical high school diploma or equivalent. It is held in Martinsville, Indiana, at an adapted outdoor center called Bradford Woods.
I started Camp PossAbility because I saw the need for young adult campers with high cognitive function to have a place they could call their own. Most childhood adapted camps end when the young adult turns ages 18 or 21 and all adults end up in one “catch all” camp that includes adults of all ages with all levels of physical and cognitive abilities. Those with high cognitive function often quit going to camp because they live otherwise normal lives, going to work and school, and just need a break where their activities are adapted.
How has your background as a nurse contributed to the success of the camp?
My background as a nurse contributes greatly to the success of camp. I understand the many facets of our campers’ disabilities, so they and their caregivers are comfortable talking to me about the needs they will have at camp. I can also oversee the campers’ medical care while they are at camp and am able to be a resource for them even after camp is over for the year.
You recently had your 2nd “PossAbility Gala”, what was the purpose of this event?
The purpose of our PossAbility Gala was to raise funding for our 2016 camp week. Camp will run July 31 to August 5, 2016. Costs to run camp for a week are approximately $56,000, so a lot of fundraising is needed to make camp happen and provide scholarships so that our campers can attend.
In what ways can people help Camp PossAbility?
There are many ways that people can help Camp PossAbility. Our biggest need is of course donations—both financial donations and physical donations of supplies. We also have a large need for volunteers. Campers are paired with a volunteer for the week, and we need about 50 of these volunteers for our 35 campers. For more information, potential campers, volunteers, and donors can visit our web site: www.camppossability.org. They can also call 260-341-5732.