Hope's Crossing serves kids with physical challenges
The summer day camp gives children with physical limitations the classic camp experience.
Longtime camper Torie Dinsmore and Hope’s Crossing founder Bob Degen at Camp Loughridge, the site of Hope’s Crossing summer day camp
Margaret Dinsmore takes great joy in knowing that her daughter, Torie, is experiencing a rite of American childhood: summer camp.
Torie, 19, has some physical challenges that prevented her from a typical camp experience. Beginning in 2012, Torie attended Hope’s Crossing, a summer day camp for “differently abled” young people. She returned the next five summers.
“I knew my daughter would experience some adventurous activities while being very well supervised,” Margaret says of Hope’s Crossing. “Knowing the counselor-to-camper ratio is 1-to-1 and that they have a full-time nurse and doctor on site at all times was such a comfort.”
Bob Degen, a Tulsa retiree who volunteered at Camp Loughridge, founded Hope’s Crossing in 2012 after meeting two young cancer survivors. Degen says he realized their psychological pain was just as significant as their physical challenges, and he believed kids like them could benefit from the confidence and fun summer camp provides.
And so, Hope’s Crossing was born. It has grown from 12 campers in 2012 to 40 campers in 2019.
“We’re the only camp of this kind in northeastern Oklahoma,” Degen says, “and all of our counselors (high school- and college-aged students) are volunteers.”
The five-day camp experience is free of charge to campers, kids ages 8-16 who canoe, fish, swim in the wheelchair-accessible pool with life vests, climb rock walls and ride horseback.
What was Torie’s favorite part about Hope’s Crossing? Her answer sounds familiar to any camper: “Swimming and working with my counselor.” This summer, she and her mother plan to volunteer at the camp that has given so much to them.
June 3-7 — Hope’s Crossing
Camp Loughridge, 4900 W. Oak Leaf Drive. Camp is full; volunteer counselors are still needed. Register at hopescrossingcamp.org.