Celebrating Moms

Posted on: Tuesday May 9, 2017

By: Christy Ragle

The Victory Lane Camp community is full of families who understand the value of connection, friendship, and service. Moms are central in these family units, and it is often moms who make the initial decision to become part of Victory Lane Camp. This month, we celebrate all of the moms involved with VLC by highlighting a few of our favorite mom stories. Mom’s Leap of Faith Sparks Connections Cindy Cook notices people staring at her son Aaron when they go out in public. At Victory Lane Camp, however, Aaron is part of the community. He has friends who include him and engage with him, and Cindy has become active in camp programming. “It takes a big leap of faith, and it’s really hard for a parent to let their child go to a camp if they have special needs and are non-verbal,” she shared. “I didn’t want my kid going to a camp that I wasn’t involved in. Victory Lane Camp is for the whole family. It’s not just for the kids.” Cindy’s story: http://victorylanecamp.org/mom-connects-with-community/   Mom Brings Family to Volunteer Zonda Ketcham understands the impact of volunteering with her family. She serves alongside her family each summer as they teach disability awareness. She’s seen how this service has made a difference in the lives of her children. “Their world is much bigger than they realized and it is made up of many wonderfully different people. We all have our strengths and our weaknesses,” Zonda expressed. “Each of us is special in God’s eyes. He loves us very much, and we should love one another as He loves us.” Zonda’s story: http://victorylanecamp.org/family-volunteering-leads-to-community-impact/   Finding Hope and Chasing Smiles: One Mom’s Journey Taby Wise wasn’t sure how her son AJ would do at his first session of Victory Lane Camp. AJ has Duchenne muscular dystrophy and had become accustomed to saying, “I can’t” when it came to many things. When Taby brought AJ to camp, she saw that change. He quickly gained a new understanding of what he was capable of doing. Taby also worked with Victory Lane Camp donors and other generous givers to secure a mobility vehicle so that her son would not be homebound. “When I asked AJ what he thought about getting this new van, he said ‘Mommy, I’m so glad that it won’t hurt you getting me in and out of the van anymore,’” Taby Wise shared. “I am so very grateful to everyone that has been involved with making this happen.” Taby’s story: http://victorylanecamp.org/chasing-smiles/   Busy Moms Find Friendship Through VLC Sarah Urwin and Dara Upchurch are both moms with busy lives and a deep love for their families. It this love drew them both to the Victory Lane Camp community and led to a meaningful friendship. “When our busy schedules allow, Dara and I have been able to go out together as friends just to relax, encourage, and edify,” Sarah shared. “I am very thankful for her friendship.” This friendship has been a blessing to Dara as well. “Being the parent of a special needs child doesn't have to be a scary, lonely world,” she said. “There are people out there going through this, or ones who truly want to help.” Sarah and Dara’s story: http://victorylanecamp.org/building-friendships/ Twice a month you can find stories about the Victory Lane Camp community. Find these mom stories and many more at www.victorylanecamp.org/blog.  

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‘We just pray:’ Group Provides Prayer Support for Victory Lane Camp

Posted on: Wednesday April 26, 2017

By: Amber Estelle

Victory Lane Camp receives support in several ways. Volunteering time, resources, and goods are some obvious avenues of support. Another form of support is found in prayer. Joanne Passanisi has been a part of the VLC community through prayer since it’s early brainstorming days. Joanne felt the call to bring neighborhood women together through prayer, Bible study and doing life together. “Our neighborhood Bible study consists of a small but mighty group of women, all of us coming from very different backgrounds and life experiences. We are a motley crew and it's unlikely our paths would have crossed outside of this study. Various life events drew us together,” she described. One of those women drawn into the Bible Study was Noell Mosca, the mother of Paige Fischer. When Brett and Paige began the dreaming process of VLC, Noell told the group about it. They began to pray. “While VLC was still an idea we began praying that the Lord would open doors, making connections that would ultimately guide and direct the path and vision for VLC.” Joanne continued, “We prayed that God would bring families to the camps, that He would bring volunteers to work the camps, for facilities to host the camps and for wisdom to deal with the many challenges associated with a ministry like VLC.” The Bloomington, IN, Bible study has seen VLC begin and continue to grow over the years. They have witnessed many answers to their weekly prayers. Joanne recalls specifically, “We prayed for the provision of facilities to hold the camps, and He provided trailers at a campsite and then Bradford Woods who were totally onboard with the philosophy behind VLC which ministers to the whole family.” The group has prayed for health needs within the Victory Lane Camp community, sending cards and helping in other ways. This year, the group diligently prayed for Victory families to sign up. God answered this prayer, and now both summer sessions are full. The Bible study plans to keep VLC on their permanent prayer list. Joan expressed, “We are always praying for guidance and direction and for the VLC families as well a as the families who volunteer and work the camp. We pray for lives to be touched, transformed, and changed by the love of Christ displayed through the camp staff. That the VLC families would also feel encouraged and supported and no longer alone. We pray for energy and health of the staff and volunteers. And we just pray.” Are you part of a group who would like to partner with VLC in prayer? Contact Tiffanny at 765-591-4191 or send an e-mail to tiffanny@VictoryLaneCamp.org.

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Events Pit Crew Builds Community with Monthly Events

Posted on: Thursday April 13, 2017

By: Amber Estelle

Throughout the past year, Victory Lane Camp offered 12 events which led to laughter, memories, and connections. The team of volunteers working behind the scenes to produce these events is the Events Planning Pit Crew. The crew is comprised of Laura Anderson, Sarah Urwin, Stephania Houchins, Stephanie Winn, and Dara Upchurch. Each member contributes unique ideas and hard work to put together events like the Wheels Party, Pool Party, Family Movies, Chili Cook Off, and more. “It’s our goal to facilitate intentional community and fun outings that anyone can be a part of and enjoy,” Stephanie Winn expressed. She began her involvement with VLC through attending camp as a speech therapist. She enjoys getting to know the other pit crew members and brainstorming ways to engage families in events throughout the year. “It has helped me to think through the ways in which daily activities or get-togethers are not accessible to people of different abilities and ways in which we can make activities accessible to anyone,” she added. As a Victory Mom, Dara Upchurch likes to help plan and execute activities with the Events Planning Pit Crew. She enjoys seeing families connect and create deeper relationships. “It's easy to get wrapped up in ourselves, and attending these events allows me to connect with others and hear their stories,” Dara shared. Victory Lane Camp was just in the dreaming and planning stages when Sarah Urwin started getting involved. Although she no longer serves on the Events Planning Pit Crew, she still participates in brainstorming ideas at the meetings. She experienced the blessing of volunteering and invites others to join the crew to share in the blessings. It’s her vision to see each team member leading one or two events each year. “I look forward to seeing more families impacted by this ministry through volunteering and becoming Victory Families over the coming years,” Sarah noted. Victory Lane Camp is made up of many moving and growing parts. The Events Planning Pit Crew is an essential team of volunteers, and their efforts lead to deeper relationships and a community atmosphere. If you are looking for a way to become involved in VLC, consider joining the Events Planning Pit Crew and contact Tiffanny at 765-591-4191 for more information.

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‘Small Connections and Special Moments’ Attract Therapist to Serving at Victory Lane Camp

Posted on: Friday March 24, 2017

By: Amber Estelle

As an occupational therapist with 321Go Kids Rehab, Dusti Dobbs loves spending time connecting with her patients and providing innovative therapies. Only seeing kids during appointments has its limitations, however, and there are only so many variations in activities she can provide in a traditional therapy setting. Serving as a therapist at Victory Lane Camp provides Dusti with the opportunity to use creativity while practicing therapy during camp sessions. Over the past three years, Dusti has assisted at camp sessions in a variety of roles, and her heart is to build a foundation for Victory Kids to learn and grow. “It’s every therapist’s dream to be able to integrate therapy strategies outside the walls of a clinic. In the camp setting, we are hands-on in a community and in a fun setting,” Dusti noted. “We’re able to show families ways to make therapy work into their daily life schedule. We aim to adapt activities to make life work in a therapeutic way.” In her first year at camp, Dusti reconnected with a high school friend who is the caregiver for her nephew. Throughout camp, their friendship blossomed and they built a relationship of trust. Dusti became a respite caretaker and continued her involvement in the family’s life. “We watch each other's children,” she shared. “I have assisted in helping her with therapy strategies for her nephew and just being a constant in their lives serving and receiving special gifts that both of them bring to our lives.” Dusti expanded her therapy role in camp the following year and helped train the therapists as coaches for the families and the VLC community. She taught therapists how to integrate therapy strategies within the real world of camp. During this camp, she met and became involved with the Miller family and developed a bond with Luke Miller. I was able to introduce them to the therapeutic listening program. Luke became a favorite of my daughter’s, and finding ways to interact with Luke and make him smile was a huge part of her week,” she explained. During the most recent camp session, Dusti had the opportunity to serve as a family crew chief. While she found this challenging, she used therapy strategies to break down the walls of a Victory Kid and make a lasting connection with him and his family. They now connect outside of the clinic and spend time together at places like Sky Zone. The Victory Kid continues coming to 321Go Kids Rehab for services, and Dusti has an ongoing friendship with his mom. Dusti sums up her experiences in stating, “small connections and special moments happen all throughout the week. It’s truly about finding ways to connect with these kids and families in order to enrich their lives in simple ways.” Do you know a therapist who would be interested in an opportunity to serve at camp? This year’s camp sessions are only five days long and include a weekend. Please contact Tiffanny at 765-591-4191 for more information.

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