Victory Family Experiences New Friends and New Adventures at Camp

Posted on: Thursday July 27, 2017

By: Amber Estelle

  Taby Wise was terrified of the zipline at Bradford Woods this summer, but her son AJ was determined to try it. Fearlessly, AJ insisted that his family promise to take turns and all experience the zipline. As he was coming to the close of his adventure, AJ declared that it was “awesome” and quickly asked to go again. The Wise family has been a part of the VLC community for the last couple of years. This was their second time attending camp. “We were looking forward to camp again. AJ loves it because everyone includes him. They adapt the games so he can fit in. They make you feel really comfortable and welcome,” shared Taby. Even though AJ had been to camp before, he found new ways to move out of his comfort zone and really connect at camp. Taby explained, “This year, he was socializing. Some of the kids came to our cabin and played cards. It’s amazing to see him build relationships with other kids.” One of those relationships was with his friend, Simon. AJ said “I really liked hanging out with Simon and doing the zipline. That made me feel happy.” Watching her son stretch his limits and grow in community reminded Taby of how much VLC means to them. “You don’t always get the support you need for your family. It’s really nice to know that they’re there for you, and they’ll pray for you. It’s not just a camp to us, it’s family.”

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A Heart for Serving: Sierra’s Story

Posted on: Thursday July 13, 2017

By: Amber Estelle

When Sierra Anderson’s step-brother suffered from limited mobility and other issues following a car accident, it created a hunger in her heart to help others. She started attending Life Pacific College in California with the plan to complete her Bachelor’s in Human Development and Psychology. “I was motivated by my experience caring for my step-brother,” Sierra shared. Working on her degree required Sierra to complete an internship experience to help her apply the skills she is learning in the classroom. She began looking for an opportunity to work with families impacted by special needs and to explore child education. “There’s a great need for care and service to children with special needs and their families,” she described. With her fiancé close by, and a connection through Foursquare pastor Natalie Werking, Sierra found her way to Victory Lane Camp. Sierra spent time at Bradford Woods observing the atmosphere of Victory Lane Camp and incorporating herself into the community. She took time to grow in her understanding of the TIMS, Teens in Mission, program. “My main goals are to become a working member of Victory Lane’s team and to help them execute their camps excellently. I’m planning to help them to develop their Teens in Mission to be functioning in a way that is sustainable for their growth,” she explained. “They have some high goals for how many people they want to be serving, so they plan to really grow their TIMs ministry.” After attending some of the monthly events this spring and experiencing the first camp of the summer, Sierra has already built relationships within the community with hopes to continue forming connections. She expressed, “I have been able to make connections with some of the families at VLC events, and am excited to meet and connect with even more at the next camp this summer.” She has already seen the impact of having teens involved with VLC during the first camp at Bradford Woods this summer. “The most impacting thing was watching the ways the teens stepped up and grew as leaders themselves,” Sierra noted. “They were willing to let their hearts show and that had such a transforming effect on the children, the camp atmosphere, and on me. It reminded me what was so important and beneficial about TIMS and really energized me to step into my role during the next camp session at Cornerstone.”

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Three Amigos Connect at Camp

Posted on: Wednesday June 28, 2017

By: Christy Ragle

  The Three Amigos or The Three Stooges. Whatever the Victory Lane Camp community calls this group of three guys, they don’t seem to mind. They’re too busy enjoying a wonderful friendship. Delmar Smith, David Upchurch, and Greg Carey all met through Victory Lane Camp. As dads who have children with disabilities, they found they had a lot in common. The three began connecting on a deeper level during last year’s camp session at Cornerstone. But the friendship didn’t end when camp concluded. They visited one another and made a point to be at as many monthly Victory Lane Camp events as possible. “If I know they’re going to be there, it lifts my spirits. They are both great guys, and with both of them also having kids with special needs, they get it,” David Upchurch expressed. “They really understand in a way that others can’t.” Greg is considered the “Mo” of the group, referring to the classic Three Stooges. They refer to Delmar as the MacGyver because he is good at figuring things out, a skill that helped them outmaneuver an escape room during one of their outings. David is known for his outgoing personality and great heart.  “When the three of us get together, we revert back to our fun-loving childhood days. I can be myself and let loose,” Delmar shared. “With caring for a child with special needs, there is always something that needs to be done. We can watch over the kids together and be ourselves. We just click.” The trio’s bond was solidified at the Victory Lane Camp session at Bradford Woods in June. The three enjoy talking about life together and aren’t afraid to broach sensitive topics like religion and politics. “It’s cool, because we can just laugh. Laughter is very important,” David said. “We like to goof off and then we can be serious.” At the Victory Lane Camp pool party a few weeks after camp, the three amigos were together again, having a serious discussion about what faith means to them. Minutes later, they were laughing and talking about something silly. “That’s what makes our relationship just fun,” David continued. David, Greg, and Delmar plan to continue getting together throughout the year. Their wives also enjoy one another and make sure VLC events and casual outings are on the schedule. They are even planning to take a vacation together. “We have a lot of shared experiences with our children. All of us have a child on the spectrum, and we have learned quickly that milestones and expectations have completely changed. My other friends may not get it at all,” Greg shared. “It’s almost like family, maybe even better.”

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An Adventure In Giving

Posted on: Friday June 16, 2017

By: Christy Ragle

Rosanne Hardwick loves giving back to her community. When she saw there were needs within Victory Lane Camp, she found a way to make a difference. Rosanne’s history with Victory Lane Camp started with her work at Huffman Chiropractic. When VLC Founder Brett Fischer first started his pediatric rehab clinic, it was in the same facility as the chiropractic practice. Several of the first Victory kids started as Brett’s patients. “I got to know some of the kids and their personalities,” Rosanne shared. She also witnessed the organization grow through the years. “It’s unique. I’ve not seen anything else like this in our area. Having the chance to see it start, develop, and grow, I can see that God is blessing the program.” Rosanne bought tickets to attend the George Dennehy concert that VLC hosted last fall and planned to take her family. At first her husband wasn’t planning to attend, but changed his mind and went along with Rosanne and the children. “I wanted to expose them to what Victory Lane Camp was all about, and we were all encouraged by the presentation,” she noted. “My husband has become a wonderful spokesperson for VLC now.” They made a family decision to take one of the giving envelopes that was available after the program to support VLC. When they opened the envelope and discovered the suggested amount was more than was in their budget, they decided to keep the envelope and raise the money for VLC. As an active part of her family’s flag business, Rosanne has connected with other business people through the years. She and her business networking group established a birthday blessings program at a local senior residence center, and they would use candy bars to help raise money for this program. Rosanne decided to launch a candy bar sale to raise money for VLC. “We would take the candy bars to church. Not only would we sell candy bars, but we also started lifting Victory Lane Camp up in prayer,” she said. “My husband would often add to the announcement and promote Victory Lane Camp.” Rosanne raised an initial donation of $100, and soon followed with a $78 donation. This exceeded the suggested amount for the envelope they picked up at the concert. She doesn’t have plans for another fundraising effort right now as she transitions into helping at the flag pole company where her husband works. But she added that she would consider it as the Lord guides her. “As a family, we would love to go to camp as a serving family at some time,” Rosanne noted. “What VLC is about is a lot of heart work. It’s not just to get healthier, but also to meet an emotional and spiritual need… a need for community.”

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