Wonderland Camp

ROCKY MOUNT, Mo. — Wonderland Camp, a camp at Lake of the Ozarks for people with disabilities, has received a $17,000 grant to help with the financial challenges brought about by the Covid-19 crisis. 

The Midwest Special Needs Trust (MSNT), a non-profit agency dedicated to establishing special needs trusts for individuals with disabilities, awarded Wonderland Camp the $17,000 grant earlier this January.

As part of their effort to support “agencies providing services to low-income individuals with disabilities, including children with disabilities,” that have been negatively impacted by COVID-19, The Midwest Special Needs Trust invited ten organizations to apply for a total of $100,000 worth of funding. All ten organizations had served at least one individual who had been a recipient of an MSNT charitable grant or a lifetime beneficiary of a special needs trust. 

The goal of the grant was to help non-profits around the Midwest continue providing excellent services while remaining solvent during the global pandemic.

$7,000 of the grant will be used to support Wonderland’s upcoming Spring Camp in April 2021; the funds will help purchase meals and supplies needed for campers and their friends and family members after 2020’s Spring Camp was canceled. The remaining $10,000 will be used to address various general operating challenges, including major items for maintenance, necessary to re-opening successfully, both in April and in the summer.

Wonderland Camp is a non-profit sleep-away camp dedicated to giving individuals with disabilities the chance to experience the wonders of the outdoors. While the camp holds 11 one-week sessions during the summer, Wonderland also holds several weekend camps during the spring and fall, including Family Camps and a Mothers’ Retreat. Wonderland says they work to engage every camper, no matter the disability, in activities like swimming, hiking, boating, fishing, the performing arts, rock wall climbing, archery, arts and crafts, karaoke, dress up, dancing, games, and more.

The Midwest Special Needs Trust, originally established as the Missouri Family Trust, has been providing trusts that allow families to set aside money for their special needs loved ones without jeopardizing public benefits like SSI and Medicaid since 1989.

While Wonderland had to cancel its 2020 session to protect the safety of its medically vulnerable campers, it typically hosts more than 1,000 campers and 100 counselors each year. Despite the challenges, it was voted Missouri Magazine’s Best Camp for the second year in a row. Camper registration will start in February for interested families, and the camp is currently hiring for a number of positions.

For more information on the Midwest Special Needs Trust, contact MSNT's Executive Director, Kathy Birkes, at 573-256-5055 or visit https://www.midwestspecialneedstrust.org/. For more information on camp operations and programs, contact Wonderland’s Director of Fund Development and Communications, Mike Clayton, at mike@wonderlandcamp.org, or visit wonderlandcamp.org.

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