special

Arizona Special Needs Camp At Risk

Lions Camp Tatiyee, the only organization in Arizona that provides individuals with special needs a week-long summer camp in the White Mountains all free-of-charge, is in jeopardy of having to cancel sessions for the first time since 1958 due to lack of funding. As it stands, Lions Camp Tatiyee is $125,000 short of meeting its operational budget for the 2014 camp season.

In the past 56 seasons, contributions from the Arizona Lions Club have allowed the camp to remain in operation. In addition to individual donations, the Lions Club has generated the bulk of funding through recycling efforts. However, the 2013 closing of Catalyst Paper Mill in Snowflake, Arizona, which was a major source of recycling revenue for the Arizona Lions, has significantly impacted the camp’s ability to generate funding.

Said Pam Swanson, Executive Direct of Lions Camp Titayee, “This is new territory for us, and we have had to reinvent our fundraising strategy in an incredibly short amount of time. Unfortunately, we are still short of our operational budgeting goal. If we are not able to make up the shortage by the end of June, hundreds of special needs campers may not be able to attend camp this summer.”

Added Swanson, “For most of our campers, the annual week-long summer camp experience is the highlight of their year.”

Lions Camp Tatiyee annually schedules eight week-long sessions, hosting special needs campers ranging from 7 years old to adults. The camp is open to individuals with Downs syndrome, cerebral palsy, spinal injuries, mental disabilities and sight and hearing impairment, to name just a few. Lions Camp Tatiyee has never charged campers or their families for their camp experience.

Campers at Lions Camp Tatiyee come from all cities in Arizona. The camp has the capacity to host more than 650 campers each season at its state-of-the-art facility, which sits on 88 acres in the White Mountains. However, lack of funding has limited Lions Camp Tatiyee’s ability to accept campers, and there are currently more than 150 special needs individuals on the waiting list.

Lions Camp Tatiyee is making a plea for support in this time of need. Without financial backing, the camp will be forced to cancel sessions. Those interested in helping to support Lions Camp Tatiyee may do so online by visiting www.ArizonaLionsCamp.org and clicking one the “Donate Now” button.