After attending the Texas Lions Camp in Kerrville, Texas, a Del Rio teen shared his bitter-sweet emotions with a local organization that has been sponsoring him to attend the camp, the Del Rio Host Lions Club. Brett Clark, a Comstock High School student, graduated Friday from his fifth and last lions camp.
Clark, who was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes five years ago, found in the lions camp an ideal place to learn about others like him, educate himself on healthy eating and healthy habits, and how to help others overcome their limitations.
The camp is a residential camping facility for children with physical disabilities, Type 1 diabetes, and cancer.
Children attending the camp enjoy a one-week unique experience, and celebrate a graduation ceremony at the end of the week. Clark, who was reluctant to attend his first camp five years ago, said he was sad now because he wouldn’t be able to attend next year due to his age.
“Texas Lions Camp has changed my life and many others for the better. I have been attending the camp for the last five years and sadly this past year was my final year … as a camper that is,” Clark said Thursday during the Del Rio Host Lions Club meeting held at Ramada Inn.
He said this camp was a unique opportunity he felt truly blessed to have.
“And I cannot thank you enough for sponsoring me for the last five years. I have made dozens of new friends while attending the camp and I still talk to each and every one of them. I plan on keeping in contact with them for years to come,” he said.
Since graduation ceremony this year Clark knew he had to say goodbye to all of his friends for the time being.
“I never knew I would cry as much as I did saying goodbye to all my friends at camp. It wasn’t until the closing ceremonies that I realized this camp has done more for me than just help me manage and understand my Type 1 Diabetes. It has helped to develop problem solving skills, leadership, bravery, and friendship as well.”
The camp has a wide array of activities for the campers, ranging from archery to music, acting, sports, swimming, and more.
“The last two years we got to choose two classes that we would like to do, and this year I chose RNA (sports) and ropes. My favorite out of the two was ropes and it was so much fun. The ropes instructors taught me and others how to tie knots needed to tie climbers into their harnesses.
“Then the following day we helped tie in some younger units and did some team building exercises afterwards. In RNA we did a little bit of everything from basketball to soccer,” he said.
In a few years, when he turns 18, Clark plans on becoming a counselor/program staff because he wants to help others with their disabilities just as others did for him.
The camp is designed to introduce the “Can Do” philosophy to children dealing with special medical conditions.
The primary purpose of the camp is to provide a facility for physically disabled, hearing/vision impaired, and diabetic children from the State of Texas, regardless of race, religion, or national origin.
For more information on the Texas Lions Camp visit their website at http://www.lionscamp.com/