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Community helps fix-up Whatcom County summer camp for those with special needs

It's the first renovation of this scale in the camp's history.

BLAINE, Wash. — Lions Camp Horizon near Blaine in Whatcom County is one of the few summer camps in the region that serves those with developmental disabilities and doesn't have an age limit.

However, the property has seen some wear and tear over the camp's 45-year history

That's why volunteers from Americorps and Windermere Real Estate descended upon the grounds for painting, replacing rotted wood and crumbling sidewalks and making the fire pit fully accessible to those with wheelchairs or walkers.

The organization is even building wooden risers above bed frames so people don't have to ask for help in doing something as simple as getting in and out of bed.

"That little bit of extra dignity... to not have to ask for help for something someone can do on their own if they have the proper accommodation, is really important," said Lions Camp Horizon executive director Tera Contezac.

The renovation project is the first of this scale in the camp's run.

"We simply couldn't exist without our volunteers," said Contezac. "It's really fantastic to see the community coming together to support this cause, making sure people with disabilities have a chance to get a vacation and a break from their routine lives, as well."

Mary Shipley, now 30-years-old, has been coming to the camp since she was a teenager.

"I can get a break," she said with a wide smile. "And my mom needs a break, too...from me!"

For campers like Shipley, it means there will be many more memories and many more friends for years to come.

"I have a family here at camp. It's fun to have friends," she sid. "I love this camp all the rest of my life."

About 250 people, ages 12 and up, will visit the camp this summer.

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