WHAS Crusade for Children helps kids at Camp TESSA


by WHAS11


Posted on August 6, 2013 at 5:00 PM

Updated Tuesday, Aug 6 at 5:00 PM

(WHAS11) -- With school getting started soon for many student, summer camps are beginning to wrap up, but for children diagnosed with Autism, finding a summer camp can be a problem.

Thanks to the WHAS Crusade for Children those youngsters in Hardin and surrounding counties have a camp to call their own, Camp TESSA.

The enthusiasm is obvious.  This isn't Nic Hatcher's first time at Camp TESSA.

"I keep coming back because it's the best thing to happen to me since a long time," Hatcher, said.

Campers, like Nic, who are on the Autism spectrum have been able to enjoy Camp TESSA for over ten years.  The camp was established by Wally and Kate Thomas so their granddaughter, Katie, would get to experience the fun of camp with children like her.

Camp Coordinator Angie Lilly knows the children enjoy the summer camp experience.

"They go to the water park. We go to Blazers and jump on the inflatables. They have a lot of great experiences that they may not normally be able to have at a camp, because it's in a supported setting," Lilly, said.

Crusade funding has been crucial for Camp TESSA to fulfill its mission.

"The Crusade dollars have helped us ten of our eleven years of existence and honestly, we would not be able to exist if it was not for Crusade dollars," Lilly, said.

While it's obvious that children at Camp TESSA are having a great time, Nic says one of the best parts is making new friends.
"I can't tell you the amount of friends that I've made here. Each year, I meet somebody new and each year they become my friend," Hatcher, said.

 Volunteers, who are the ages of the campers, give the summer camp children a chance to learn social skills that last long after camp is over.