More than 150 campers are enjoying this year’s Camp Happiness, a traditional one-week day camp experience for people with intellectual and other developmental disabilities from Niagara County.
Held at Lockport Family YMCA’s Camp Kenan on Lake Ontario in Barker, the camp is open to those ages 12 to 90 from all over Niagara County.
In its eighth year, Fred Kanehl, Lockport Elks member, said the camp has grown, adding approximately 50 additional campers each day, with 175 total and 150 attending daily. Last year there were 120 registered campers with approximately 100 attending each day. Campers do come from a number of areas around the county.
When it originally began, it was open to Lockport residents with developmental disabilities. Each year the camps has grown, drawing from those areas.
For 2015, Niagara Cerebral Palsy has joined in with the collaborative/teaming efforts of the Lockport Elks Lodge No. 41, Lockport Family YMCA and Opportunities Unlimited of Niagara County.
NCP brought 30 campers to this year’s camp.
Kanehl said they broke down by zip code the number of campers attending and 40 percent come from the Lockport Elks area, 40 percent come from the Niagara Falls Elks area and 20 percent come from Twin Cities Elks area. Campers are attending through Opportunities Unlimited, NCP and on their own.
The camp is staffed by volunteers from NCP, Opportunities Unlimited, Lockport Elks and Twin Cities Elk Lodge. Camp Kenan staff run the camp.
Camp Director Luke Kantor said his Camp Kenan staff always look forward to Camp Happiness. He said traditionally for Camp Kenan “we are used to working with children, working with folks that are here for the whole week for resident camp.”