Iowa Sen. Tom Harkin got a tour of Camp High Hopes on Friday.
SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KTIV) -
Camp High Hopes opened its doors for the summer season about one month ago, but that time's already been a blur for CEO Ali Langseth.
"Just to see them coming in from the parking lot with their luggage and their families, and seeing some moms and dads leaving and they're in tears because it's hard for the parents to leave them," said Langseth.
It's a passion shared by Iowa Senator Tom Harkin, who sponsored the Americans with Disabilities Act. He can't believe how far the camp has come in the past few months.
"We're long past the time where kids with disabilities sit around and watch TV all day," said Harkin. "Just like any other kid, they have to have an outlet for their artistic endeavors, their sports endeavors, maybe physical activity."
"We see campers now who are coming back again and again and again. It's not uncommon for us to have a camper right now, who's been here three or four times already," said Langseth.
Harkin's receiving expert advice from a camper who's excited to show the senator the ropes.
"She's talking about what she likes about the camp. You know, she's showing him how easily accessible it is and it's just cool," said Langseth.
"Life is full of challenges, and kids with disabilities ought to be challenged, and they ought to have full access to recreation and things that kids without disabilities (have)," said Harkin.
As Langseth shows Harkin the latest improvements, like an archery course, they're already envisioning some ideas to make these 90 acres even better.
"I want to get them a pontoon boat, so that the kids with wheelchairs can go out on a pontoon boat," said Harkin.
"We'd definitely love to have more cabins. Looking at plans for a pool some day, more recreation space, stand alone med center. So, this really is just the beginning," said Langseth.
Langseth says what the camp needs the most is more cabins. Right now, the camp can house 28 overnight guests, but she hopes they'd have room for 100 eventually.
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