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Special needs camp gets handicap accessible shower house

HIGHLAND COUNTY, Ohio (Rich Jaffe) -- For one week in June, Rocky Fork State Park in Highland County is transformed into something extraordinary, Kamp Dovetail.

350 children with disabilities camp for a week for free.  This year, there will be a major improvement.  You've probably heard that in the Bible, God said early on, "Let there be light."  Well at Kamp Dovetail about 8 years ago, Linda Allen said, "Let there be water," showers in particular.

So Wednesday she and some friends broke ground for a new shower house that will feature 8 showers.  All of them are handicapped accessible.  Linda's the Executive Director of S.A.T.H.- Supplemental Assistance for The Handicapped.

She says, "When you've got 350 children, 50 or 60 in wheelchairs who have to wait an hour and 45 minutes for a shower, these 8 showers are gonna be a lifesaver for them.  It means they'll be able to have more time being a kid and having fun than waiting in line for a shower."

For a full week in June every year, Kamp Dovetail gives hundreds of full time volunteers to help kids who need a little help have a week of fun at no cost to the campers.  My pal Courtney Adams has been coming here since 2005.

She says the new showers will be, "Nice, clean and not messy."

Nice, clean and not messy?  I asked her, and easy?

"And no waiting?"

"Yeah!" she answered.

Currently there are only two handicapped showers at Kamp Dovetail.  They put a plastic chair down so the kids can at least sit down while they're getting bathed.  Then while the kids are lined up waiting for their showers there are frequently people waiting in line for food. 

Funding for the project is coming from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, and grant money.  Corporate friends are pitching in too.

Ken Jones of McDaniels construction told me, "You don't hear alot of camps for handicapped children and really it's awesome."

Rick Pettit from the Gordian Group says, "This is such a wonderful opportunity to become part of the DNR, SATH relationship and now we have the opportunity and honor to build a shower that's gonna do so much good for these children."

Jim Fields has been volunteering here for 17 years.  I asked him why?

"The kids," he said.  "The kids working so hard to make sure the handicapped children have fun and every year I say I'm gonna quit. I'm tired, know what I mean?  And every year something touches my heart and nah... I'll go back next year."

Jim will be here this year too.

"SATH," the group behind Kamp Dovetail, is a 501-C-3 organization, funded purely by donations.  Construction on the shower house will start April 7th and it's guaranteed to be done by June first.  That's in plenty of time for "Kamp."

CLICK HERE for more information on Kamp Dovetail.

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