“We are going to camp!” said Fairview Training Center residents Jeff and Nancy. “We won’t be here next week!” ”Yeah, right,” said Ann Fullerton, who knew this was unlikely. It was 1967, and she was a volunteer at the strict, state-run institution for patients with a variety of developmental and mental disabilities. “But I was wrong,” she said, “there actually was such a camp and going to camp was the most important week in their lives.”
Fairview closed many years ago, but Mt. Hood Kiwanis Camp (MHKC) is still going strong. PSU Professor Ann Fullerton has been involved with the MHKC for 46 years. She is an essential part of helping young people with disabilities learn what they can achieve while having the time of their lives at summer camp.
This month marks 80 wonderful years of camping on the side of pristine Mt. Hood. In partnership with Portland Kiwanis, the MHKC has enabled persons with disabilities to have unforgettable outdoor recreational activities.
Mt. Hood Kiwanis Camp has been a partner with the university for 40 years. The camp provides the oldest and largest continuing capstone course at PSU, with over 200 students from 30+ majors participating annually. Additionally, it provides Graduate School of Education (GSE) students and faculty with numerous research and program development opportunities. In all, over 2,200 PSU students have worked at MHKC, helping people learn about and enjoy outdoor activities.
In addition to medical and specialized personnel, the camp has 70 seasonal staff members who live at the camp all summer. Program Director Lindsay Lowe is a former Peace Corp worker experiencing her first year at the camp. “When I first saw the camp, I was really impressed that the same staff have been working here for as many as 18 years,” she says. “That says something about MHKC. We have great campers, great staff, and great counselors.”
Anything one could expect to do at a summer camp is specially adapted so that everyone can participate, no matter what their limitations might be. This includes, zip-lines, canoeing, horseback riding, swimming, and a climbing wall. Everyone with the desire to participate can do so.
The camp provides the PSU capstone students with hands-on experience as counselors. As a result of their two-weeks at camp, many PSU seniors enter special education graduate programs and go on to rewarding careers that augment the lives of people with disabilities.
“I deeply respect and salute the many individuals who have worked so hard to support this incredible camp over the years,” says Dr. Fullerton, who is a key liaison between PSU and the program. “The camp has touched the lives of thousands of persons with different abilities, families, volunteers and PSU student counselors.”
The camp will hold a celebration and barbecue dinner on Thursday, July 25, 2013. The festivities begin at 4pm with guided tours, and a barbecue ($10) served at 6pm. A bus to the event is available for $20 and departs from the MHKC Portland office at 10725 SW Barbur Blvd. at 2:30pm, returning at 10pm. For details contact Terri Hammond, 971-230-2921, firstname.lastname@example.org or go to mhkc.org.