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Camp Runamuk the Greatest Camp On Earth
7th annual Camp Runamuk for children with special needs achieves record attendance
Camp Runamuk was founded by Jessica Irwin, President and CEO of S.E.E.K Arizona, a leading institution offering specialized behavioral health services and therapies to children and young adults across the autism spectrum. As a youngster, Ms. Irwin appreciated the constructive impact of the sleep-away camp experience she received while in Girl Scouting. Later as an education professional she sought to offer that unique experience to children with disabilities and their families during the first Camp Runamuk held in 2008. “I have fond memories of camp and feel that the experience provided a foundation for many of the skills I use today.” Set up in the Santa Catalina Mountains, far away from a Starbucks or city lights, Camp Runamuk provides children exposure to an environment that is completely different from the one they grow up in. “Their senses are stimulated by the new atmosphere and they have the opportunity to try things with their family that they have never done before” Ms. Irwin explains.
In 2014, the Foundation for Exceptional Kids successfully partnered with Autism Speaks and Charles Schwab to fund scholarships and supplement Camp Runamuk costs not fully paid for by attendance fees. In addition, the camp was supported generously by individual donor Steven Hayes, Managing Director of Specialty Trading for Charles Schwab. “I have great memories of my summers at camp. The days filled with hiking, swimming, making new friends, and participating in social events left a lasting and positive impression on me” he said. “It’s gratifying to now help children with special needs gain access to the same kind of experiences.”
Camp Director and Program Supervisor for S.E.E.K Arizona Jenna Hamilton has been responsible for camp planning for seven years. “When I was younger, going to camp was an experience that I looked forward to every summer” she said. “I look forward to going to Camp Runamuk all year long and I feel incredibly lucky to be a part of such an amazing weekend.”
The Foundation for Exceptional Kids is dedicated to improving the quality of life for children with developmental disabilities and strengthening the local special needs’ community. We provide educational programs that empower families, contribute to community supports and services, and create nourishing events that unite a community. To learn more about the Foundation for Exceptional Kids’ initiatives, or about Camp Runamuk, contact us at 480.245.7456, or visit www.forexceptionalkids.org and www.camprunamuk.org.