As a native of San Antonio, Susan Osborne has been deeply involved as a volunteer or board member to several organizations -so she understands the needs and opportunities important to our city. However, it is her role as an aunt of two nephews with Cystic Fibrosis, and a niece with intellectual disabilities that makes her so passionate as Chief Executive Officer of Children’s Association for Maximum Potential (CAMP).
Joining CAMP in 2004 and named CEO in 2012, it is Susan’s passion that fuels CAMP’s mission to strengthen and inspire individuals – and those who care for them – through Recreation, Respite, and Education. Through her time at CAMP, Susan has found that too often individuals with special needs have never had “typical” childhood experiences like swinging, sliding, friends to play with, or the joy of being unconditionally accepted. That’s where CAMP becomes so invaluable to so many in our community!
Celebrating its 40th anniversary this year, CAMP provides year-round recreational experiences for individuals with special needs (aged 5-50), regardless of the disability. Through CAMP’s intentional programming, all campers are respected, encouraged, inspired and celebrated! CAMP’s programming alleviates medical, physical, developmental and intellectual barriers, for more than 1,500 campers who in turn garner independence and gain self-confidence through medically safe recreational activities and social interactions. No other camping program in South Texas meets the physical, medical and emotional needs of this population.
At Camp CAMP, a 55-acre summer camp in the Texas Hill Country, campers participate in one of nine one-week residential sessions with traditional camping activities such as swimming, horseback, canoeing, archery, music recreation, arts & crafts, karaoke, and a CAMP dance. CAMP provides a one-to-one camper to counselor ratio, with medical supervision for each camper. As huge an undertaking as the summer camp is, CAMP does not stop there. Year-round programming is available in both the Hill Country and in San Antonio. Monthly programs include Respite Weekends, Parents Night Out, Teen and Adult Day Adventures, TADA Life Skills Programs, and Family Retreats.
CAMP offers hands-on continuing education for its volunteers but especially for the 200+ healthcare professionals (physicians, nurses, medical/nursing students, respiratory/physical therapists, etc.) who provide healthcare, treatment, medication and other care to campers, staff, and volunteers. CAMP also annually trains 500+ volunteers (aged 14-19) with skills including child development, personal care, behavior management, and medical diagnoses, resulting in more compassion and empathy for those with special needs and providing over 99 service hours per week to the volunteer.
By Jeanne Albrecht