Camp Leo

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, 2020 Camp Leo has been cancelled. 

What is Camp Leo the Lion?

Camp Leo the Lion is a 4 day/3 night residential summer camp for children 10-18 years old with disabilities from Berrien, Cass, and Van Buren counties presented by the Lions and Lioness Clubs of Southwestern Michigan in partnership with Berrien RESA.

The goal of Camp Leo is to provide youngsters with disabilities a camping experience that facilitates self-discovery, an understanding and appreciation of nature and the opportunity to learn and socialize with their peers. It is the basic tenant of Camp Leo that regardless of one's personal limitations, everyone is valuable, having unique skills and qualities which contribute to society as a whole. The focus is more on the child's abilities rather than disabilities. 

Campers enjoying the outside at Camp Leo

History

Camp Leo the Lion was started in 1983 by Berrien RESA. It essentially served the purpose of providing orientation and mobility experiences for the visually impaired.

Over the past 36 years, the camp has expanded to serve children with an array of disabilities including physical or mental impairements.

Camp Goals:

  • Establish and foster friendships in the context of a supportive/enjoyable environment.
  • Grow a deeper understanding an appreciation of self through the experience of camping.
  • Foster independence in self-help skills.
  • Increase self-confidence in relation to personal limitations.
  • Have an opportunity for physical, emotional and personal expression while enjoying camping.
  • Demonstrate appropriate and supportive relationship skills through various camp activities.

Activities

The week begins late Sunday afternoon when the campers are greeted by an enthusiastic staff. After a quick dinner, there is a dance/talent show and an ice cream social!

A wake up call occurs at 8 a.m. with breakfast in the dining room followed by a flag-raising ceremony. Daily activities may include: hiking, hayrides, swimming, fishing, arts and crafts, ropes course, Alpine slide, campfire events with a music therapist, softball, dancing, soccer, kick ball, earth ball, volleyball, boating, and so much more! Lights are out by 10 p.m. each evening.

One of the highlights of the camp is Carnival Night when Lions from many chapters come to socialize and have fun with the campers. Lions and Lionesses kick-off the event with a dinner cookout that is followed by games, prizes, and good fun for all. The Carnival is the capstone activity for campers.

camp counselor and student covered in shaving cream playing outside

Cost

The average cost of Camp Leo is $400 per camper, however parents pay only a $100 registration fee. The remaining fees and services are paid for thanks to the generosity of the Lions and Lioness Clubs of Southwestern Michigan and by donors. If you or someone you know would like to make a donation to support a child's camp experience, please contact Camp Director Laurieanne Eckerley.

Contact us!

Craig Blasko
Supervisor of Ancillary Services
(269) 471-7725 ext. 1357
craig.blasko@berrienresa.org

Laurieanne Eckerley
Teacher/Camp Director
laurieanne.eckerley@berrienresa.org
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