Going away to youth camp is an experience many American children enjoy. But for many kids, physical and financial challenges stand in the way. That’s where Rotary Club 13‘s Youth Camp has served hundreds of thousands of metro area children. The Rotary Youth Camp is designed specifically for children with physical, mental or emotional disabilities which make it difficult to attend other camps.

The entire 26-acre youth camp is wheelchair accessible. There are 13, dorm-style cabins, a large dining hall, and a state-of-the-art, zero-entry swimming pool. The camp is open year-round, and it is funded by donations from events such as Greater Kansas City Day that cover its operating expenses.

What organizations are served by the camp?

Girl Scouts — An annual highlight of the camp is the Juliette Low Girl Scout Destinations sponsored by the National Counsel of Girl Scouts. Girl Scouts from around the world attend these sessions to lead girls with physical disabilities in a fulfilling camping experience.

Boy Scouts — The summer program includes a session for disabled scouts. The camp is also the site for boy scout camping and activities throughout the year. Scouts also help maintain and improve the facilities as part of their merit badge projects.

Area High Schools — Approximately 75 or more area high school juniors gather at the camp each year for “Camp Enterprise”,a three-day event focusing on the impact of American free enterprise. Motivational speakers, business workshops, keynote addresses by public officials and a talent show round out the program. Other area school groups also enjoy the experiences that the camp offers.

Children’s Mercy Hospital —The Arthritis Foundation makes it possible for children served by Children’s Mercy Hospital to havea camping experience with facilities designed for their specific needs.

ARC of Clay and Platte Counties — ARC is a support group to improve the quality of life of the intellectually and developmentally challenged, and holds an annual residential camp at the Rotary Youth Camp.

Midwest Brachial Plexus Network— This organization provides support for children have have suffered from disabling birth injuries.

Joshua Center — Joshua Center provides services and support for the social, emotional, and educational needs of neurologically impaired children and their families, including children with Aspergers, High-Functioning Autism, Pervasive Developmental Disorder, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and Tourette Syndrome.

Others — Camp Opportunity provides abused and neglected children with a week-long camp, Campfire USA, Cub Scouts with Disabilities, Heart of America Indian Center and Gillis Center round out the list of summer users. A total of more than 3,000 persons are served by the year-around services of the Camp, plus about 30 youth who are provided summer employment serving the needs of campers.

All services are offered free of charge to campers and their supporting organizations. The camp depends on contributions and inkind labor and services from Club 13 members, contributions from other individuals and foundations and funds provided through the Greater Kansas City Day newspaper sales and sponsorships for its continued operations. The purchase of a Greater Kansas City Day sponsorship reaches and benefits many segments of need in our community, as well as being a good value for the benefits offered—an unbeatable combination!