Mircea Divricean, President & CEO of Kostopulos Dream Foundation stopped by ABC4 Utah to talk about Camp K and their dedication to improving the quality of life for people of all abilities through education, recreation, and growth opportunities since 1967.
Camp K services are available to people of all abilities, levels of income, and places of residence. Their year-round programs provide opportunities for participants to access and enjoy their community, the arts, sports, education, and adaptive recreation in the great outdoors. They also encourage them to stretch their imaginations, learn practical life skills, maximize their potential for independence, and build healthy bodies, minds, and spirits. The benefits from these programs create a ripple effect, impacting not only their lives, but the lives of their families, friends, and ultimately the entire community.
- Summer Camp: May-August – 3 types of summer camp experiences: Residential Camp, Day Camp, and Travel Trip Camps. Camp runs from Monday morning to Friday afternoon, with Residential and Travel Trip campers spending 4 overnights at camp. The Residential and Day camps take place on the 25-acre campus in Emigration Canyon. Trip campers journey to local destinations, or nearby sites of National, historic, or scenic interest, including destinations such as Jackson Hole, Yellowstone, Zions National Park, Moab, and Bear Lake.
- Partner Day Camp: May-August – Under Mircea’s leadership, starting in 2015 KDF has partnered with many great organizations to provide a 2-in-1 camping experience for kids in elementary school, who do not have special needs. Kids who attend these Partner Camps share the facilities with campers who have cognitive and/or physical disabilities. Through this experience, they learn that people with disabilities are just like them – they just have different challenges and abilities!
- Community-Based Programs / After-School Programs: September-April – Activities are offered 5-6 times per week, and consist of enrichment and educational programs, including arts and drama, music, culinary arts, bowling leagues, horseback riding, snow adventures, holiday parties, themed mini-camps, dances, and many other activities with an emphasis on learning new skills through recreational therapy.
- Equestrian program: Camp K’s equestrian park and indoor arena allow equine therapy programs to run year-round. Equine therapy helps build confidence, communication, trust, social skills, impulse control, and boundaries, as well as increasing physical strength and balance. Riding lessons are available to people of all abilities.
- Vocational Rehabilitation: In 2016, Mircea created a partnership with the Utah State Office of Rehabilitation to implement new Vocational Training programs to help High School students with disabilities gain the skills and attitudes necessary to enter the workforce. Training includes hands-on experience to mock a real work environment.
- Work Experience: May-August – Implemented in 2016, the Work Experience program allows students to use the skills and knowledge gained in the Vocational Rehab program, gain real work experience, and earn a paycheck. Students work at KDF during Summer camp, in the following job roles: Kitchen Support, Grounds & Maintenance, Clerical Work, Equestrian Care, and Junior Counselors.
- Team Leadership Training: Because Mircea is committed to diversity, inclusion, and integration, Camp K now offers businesses and organizations an opportunity to identify the strengths and weaknesses of groups, break down barriers between individuals, improve creativity and problem solving, and improve communication.
Last March, Camp K was forced to shut down its programs for nearly 2 months in order for them to assess the COVID-19 Pandemic and make decisions on how they could safely provide programs to the participants that they care about so much.
They’ve revamped their Summer Camp programs to All-Inclusive Day Camps for individuals with or without disabilities. These are Monday-Friday from 9 am – 5 pm. Camp K has also created After-School/Evening Activities to act as their Community-Based Programs. These are themed activities on Tuesday and Friday from 4 pm – 8 pm and Saturday from 9 am – 5 pm.
They have had to cap their group sizes at 10 participants and also have groups in separate locations when they are required to have more than one group. When participants arrive at camp, they are asked to remain in their car until a staff member checks them in with our COVID Questionnaire which includes a temperature check and questions regarding exposure and symptoms. They also require staff and participants to wear masks. Camp K provides masks to individuals that do not have one. They also have cleaning and disinfecting procedures for activity areas after use, as well as provide hand sanitizer between activities and before snacks or meals.
Camp K has a lot going on now and also coming up this summer!
NOW: Spring Day Camps – Our Spring Day Camps are now in session! These all-inclusive, weekly day camps run Monday through Friday from 9:00 am-5:00 pm, until the end of April. Individuals will need to pack their own lunches and will be provided two snacks per day.
Community-Based Programs – Community-Based Activities are hosted Tuesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays at Camp K! On Tuesdays and Fridays, drop-off for participants at Camp K is at 4:00 pm and pick-up from Camp K at 8:00 pm. On Saturdays, Mini Day Camp drop off at Camp K is at 9:00 am and pick-up at Camp K at 5:00 pm. In order to keep everyone safe, unfortunately, we are not able to provide transportation at this time. During all Tuesday and Friday activities, dinner will be provided for participants. During all Saturday Mini Day Camps, lunch will be provided for participants. We will cater these meals from Ruth’s Diner.
SUMMER: Camp K will continue to provide our big hit Day Camps (Monday-Friday) again this Summer 2021, along with bringing a brand-new program to life during Summer Camp 2021 –Summer Saturday Mini Day Camps– hosted on Saturdays! Day Camps will be available to children, teens, and adults starting with age 7. As they will serve different ages and abilities, participants will be divided into smaller, age-appropriate groups. This will be based on registration totals.
In addition, Camp K is opening their Day Camps to everyone, regardless of having a disability or not. If there are siblings without a disability who want to attend, they are welcome to register!
If any of your friends or neighbors would like to register their children to attend Camp K Day Camp Programs, they’re welcome to join, let’s get them enrolled!
If you’re interested in more information or to get registered please send an e-mail or call 801-582-0700 Ext.100
You can also find additional information about Camp K and the Kostopulos Dream Foundation by visiting their website.
This article contains sponsored content.