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Center for Courageous Kids



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STORY BY EMILY ROBERTSON

When the late Betty Turner Campbell lost her son after a 17-year battle with cancer, Campbell knew she wanted to create a place for children of all different abilities and conditions to go to for fun and respite. She dreamt of building a medical camp on her father’s 168 acre farm, in her hometown of Scottsville. That dream came true in 2004 when she founded The Center for Courageous Kids (CCK.) Since its beginning, CCK has served more than 33,000 children and their families from 45 different states and 12 foreign countries.

“The Center for Courageous Kids thrives on knowing that we can say yes more than we say no to our campers,” says Jordan Steakin, Communications Officer at CCK. “We want children of all abilities to know that they can do whatever they set their minds to, without being limited by their physical, cognitive or verbal condition.”

Steakin said that a major misconception that many people have about CCK is that we only serve children with serious or terminal illnesses. When in fact CCK serves more than 100 different diagnoses.

“Our application process and the Admissions Department ensure that each applicant is a great fit for camp. Each potential camper application is carefully evaluated, so we can be certain that we can provide the necessities to give a medically-safe, fun experience for each child,” Steakin says. “To combat the idea that camp is only for a select few, we are working to ensure that more people understand the variety of illness we truly serve.”

Campers that come to CCK participate in a wide-range of experiences including boating, fishing, archery, music and art therapies, bowling, rock climbing and horseback riding. This year, the center will be opening a brand new program area with a fully-accessible tree house called The Adventure Lodge. The Adventure Lodge has an entrance eight feet off the ground and overlooks a creek below. Several different types of programs will take place inside the tree house.

“Our fully trained staff is able to facilitate and adapt every program area to fit each individual camper’s needs,” Steakin says. “More than 3,000 children and families annually participate at CCK, free-of-charge.”

Because of the large number of campers and families, staff and volunteers are essential to The Center for Courageous Kids’ success. Currently, the center has 35 staff members that work year round and there are more than 850 volunteers that serve annually. CCK is always looking for more people who want to help support CCK, whether that be for the day, the weekend, or a medical or corporate volunteer group.

“We look for individuals willing to devote their undivided attention to courageous campers that deserve the very best,” Steakin says. “If a person can fill out an application, disconnect and dive into camp, they will learn so much more from these children than anywhere else. We promise that a volunteer’s experience will be just as valuable as the camper’s experience.”

Another way to be involved with CCK is through various fundraising events throughout the year. The center is made possible because of donations from individuals, corporations and grants. CCK’s fundraising events help to fund the center, including The 5th Annual CCK 6K and Backwards Mile that was held this past April where participants were challenged to walk backward. An ongoing fundraiser that benefits CCK is the Houchens Mobile Program, where community members can donate a dollar at participating Houchens stores in Kentucky and Middle Tennessee. Also, the center will host its 2nd annual Moonshine and Music event at Highland Stables this coming November.

“We are so lucky to be a part of the South Central Kentucky culture,” Steakin says. “The people in Scottsville, Kentucky and Bowling Green show so much appreciation and love towards CCK. If anything, the majority of our events that take place in both cities are overwhelmed with love and support. This is a great place for non-profits to thrive.”

If you are interested in visiting, getting your child involved in camp, donating, or volunteering at CCK, check out their website at courageouskids.org and follow them on Facebook at facebook.com/centerforcourageouskids.

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