VLC Stars Shine At Talent Night

Posted on: Friday November 10, 2017

By: Christy Ragle

Tears and laughter were in abundance at the recent Victory Lane Camp Talent Night. Children involved with Victory Lane Camp shared songs, comedy, a magic show, and a dance routine. For each act, the parents of the “star” gave a short introduction of what they had learned from their children. Throughout the evening, other members of the Victory Lane Camp community shared skits and stories. Victory Lane Camp Founder Brett Fischer and camp song leader Mike Brown served as emcees for the event. The evening began with AJ Wise singing a duet with his dad, Jimmy. Before the song, AJ’s mom, Tabatha, talked about AJ’s life as he deals with Duchenne muscular dystrophy. “As life has gotten tougher, he’s the one encouraging us,” she expressed. Greg and Christine Carey were next, introducing their son Alex, who has autism. Greg and Christine talked about how being involved with Victory Lane Camp helped them appreciate every aspect of Alex. Alex shared a comedy routine, and included his dad and some of his friends from Victory Lane Camp in his act. Rebecca Johnson, along with her sister Leah, followed with a dance routine set to the Katy Perry song “Roar.” The sisters’ parents, Kaj and Cyndi Johnson provided a touching story about living with Rebecca’s multiple medical complications. “When I look at her, she’s not broken,” noted Cyndi. “I love and accept her for the little girl she is.” Amy Smith introduced her son Joe Hewitt by sharing about his determination. Amy wasn’t sure if Joe would be able to walk when he was born with some developmental challenges. He’s gone on to do more than walk, he participated on his school’s cross country team this year. “He puts 100 percent into everything he does. He’s an inspiration to us.” Amy said. Joe presented a magic show, complete with disappearing crayons and a magically appearing flower. The next act featured Caden Upchurch, who demonstrated different types of “dabbing” in a comical way. His parents, David and Dara Upchurch talked about Caden’s strength in dealing with his disability. “Nothing is in his way,” David stated. At this point in the program, Brett Fischer invited Shane Osting, athletic director at New Castle High School, to the stage along with athletes Nicolas Grieser and James Thompson. Brett awarded the Victory Award to the New Castle High School Athletic Department for embracing people with disabilities through the recent formation of the unified track team and other inclusive activities. The program concluded with Crystal Ingram introducing her daughter Ruby. “From day one of her diagnosis, I’ve learned not to put limits on her,” Crystal shared. “She taught me never to give up.” Ruby then took the stage and invited all the kids in the audience to “come on up!” The kids served as her backup singers as they recreated a campfire scene and Ruby sang “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.” Following the program, members of the cast hosted a party, sponsored by Sulphur Springs Christian Church and met audience members. Local Girl Scout Troup 420 served ice cream to those in attendance. The Talent Night served as a fundraising event for Victory Lane Camp. A generous donor is offering a matching monthly donation for all new monthly donations. A big thank you to all the new monthly donors who emerged at the event. There is still a need for more monthly donors. Find out more at www.VictoryLaneCamp.org/give.php

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New Pit Crew Members Find Ways to Serve VLC Families

Posted on: Thursday October 26, 2017

By: Amber Estelle

  Victory Lane Camp relies heavily on the dedication of several teams of volunteers, called Pit Crews. As VLC expands, the need for new Pit Crew members increases. Audrea Thatcher and Nancy Wadman are part of VLC Pit Crews. Let’s hear their stories: Audrea’s Story- As the mother of a child with special needs, Audrea Thatcher understands the need for support and outreach. “When I was raising my daughter, I just didn’t feel like there was enough support out there for people. I just would like to make a connection with the families of kids with special needs.” Audrea is retired from the State Police but keeps busy doing art classes at nursing homes and substitute teaching in schools. Her high-functioning daughter, Mary, is grown and working in her adult life. Now Audrea is seeking ways to get involved and give to others who are experiencing what she did while raising Mary. “It had to be a God thing. I just could not get the families with special needs off of my mind,” shared Audrea. She brought her concern for outreach to her minister and his wife. Having been involved with camp before, the Buskirks pointed Audrea in the direction of Victory Lane Camp. Audrea jumped right in and joined the Event Planning Pit Crew. She’s been to one meeting and one event, and she’s working on finishing her training. She wants to continue to see activities for kids with special needs take place. “I was really impressed with the tethered balloon rides. There are so many activities that ‘normal people’ do that people assume kids with disabilities can’t do. I’d like to see more activities like that,” expressed Audrea. “It’s easy to overlook the fact that kids who have special needs are just like everyone else. I like to see events that might normally be out of their comfort zones, but they would enjoy doing.” Nancy’s Story-  Nancy Wadman spent 39 years teaching sixth grade. She has since retired, but enjoys working with kids and volunteering. Nancy’s connection with Victory Lane Camp comes through knowing Brett and Paige Fischer. Nancy also helped her church serve meals at camp. “I have heard Brett talk, and I’m really taken with the philosophy of serving the whole family and not just the child,” Nancy explained. “It takes the whole family, and you really have to work with all of them to make life happy for the child.” For now, Nancy prefers the idea of staying behind the scenes on the Finance Pit Crew. “I’m trying to help in the best way I can. That’s being on the Finance Pit Crew right now,” she shared. But she hopes to continue to see growth. Nancy expressed, “I would like to see more people in the community become active and involved. There’s still lots of room for local people to get involved and realize how important it is. We’re working hard on extending throughout the state and hopefully someday out of state. It certainly has a future of growing.” Victory Lane Camp is made up of many moving parts with several options for places to plug in. If you are looking for a way to become involved in VLC, consider joining a Pit Crew and contact Tiffanny at 765-591-4191 for more information.

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Talent Night Features Victory Lane Camp Kids

Posted on: Tuesday October 10, 2017

By: Amber Estelle

Watch the stars of Victory Lane Camp shine on stage as Victory Lane Camp hosts a fundraising event for the whole family to enjoy on Saturday, November 4, at 7 pm. The night will be filled with talent acts from our very own Victory Kids and will be at the First Baptist Family Life Center (709 S. Memorial Drive, New Castle, IN). Everyone is invited to our cast party to follow. Take your opportunity to congratulate the stars and enjoy some ice cream with them. Admission is free, and limited festival seating is available. Spots can be reserved at www.victorylanecamp.org/stars.php or by calling Tiffanny at 765-591-4191 Featured acts include: Joe Hewitt- Joe is the son of Ryan Hewitt and Amy Smith. Joe attended his first camp session at Cornerstone Campground in 2014. He loves wowing people with magic, and will share a magic act during the VLC Talent Night. Rebecca Johnson- Rebecca is the daughter Kaj and Cyndi Johnson and the family attended camp this past summer. Rebecca has been practicing her hula hoop routine and will share her performance on November 4. AJ Wise is a long-time active member of the VLC community, attending camp for the first time in 2015. AJ and his parents Jimmy and Taby Wise attended the camp session at Bradford Woods this summer, where they each went on the zip line. AJ will sing with his dad during his performance at the Talent Night. Ruby Ingram will also present a song performance. Ruby and her mom Crystal Ingram enjoyed camp at Cornerstone Campground this summer, along with several other VLC Community events. Caden Upchurch is one of the “original Victory Kids,” and is known throughout the community for his smile and sense of humor. He’ll be sharing a comedy act at Talent Night. Caden is the son of David and Dara Upchurch. Alex Carey will present his own brand of comedy. Alex and his parents Greg and Christine attend most all VLC community events and have attended two camp sessions. Throughout the evening, the audience will also hear from other members of the Victory Lane Camp community about the growth of the organization. Victory Lane Camp is centered around families who have children with disabilities, and is more than a camp. Connections between people from all backgrounds and abilities continue throughout the year with planned events and impromptu gatherings. “We want to share how lives are being changed and how our community is growing,” noted Brett Fischer, VLC Founder. “This is a great opportunity to get to know some of the families in our VLC community and learn how to support the future growth of VLC with time and financial resources.” Everyone is invited to the cast party following the program. Attendees will have the opportunity to meet the performers and their families. Don’t miss a chance to see the stars of VLC! Reserve your seat now at www.VictoryLaneCamp.org/stars.php.

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Family Inspired To Bring VLC to the Kokomo Area

Posted on: Friday September 22, 2017

By: Amber Estelle

What started as an idea formed at a Dad Camp in Kokomo is developing into a reality for the Sipe family and the Kokomo area. Denny Sipe took his daughter, Mylie to Dad Camp. While they were there, enjoying the facility and the experience, Denny had the idea to form a special needs camp at that location. As Denny began sharing his thoughts on forming a special needs camp, he was introduced to [VLC Founder] Brett. Denny explained, “Brett said that was something they were already doing. We started networking August of last year and he encouraged our family to come to Victory Lane Camp.” Denny, Paulette, and their children Mylie and Bracy were able to attend camp at Cornerstone. Their son Bracy has Down Syndrome, and they spent this summer’s camp session as a Victory Family. The whole family enjoyed their time and the friendships and connections they made. One thing that stood out to Denny and Paulette was the amount of support they received while at camp. “Being a family with a child who has special needs, we tend to be kind of guarded a little bit. We were overwhelmed in a good way with love, care, and support. Bracy was in such good hands with the TIMS. We loved watching Mylie play games with the other kids. She made the comment that she wants to come back and be a TIM one day,” Denny shared. Now that the Sipe family has experienced VLC from the Victory Family perspective, they plan to continue their efforts toward starting VLC in their area. Denny shared, “We were overwhelmingly met with a lot of love, support, encouragement, and fun. How can we get this to take place in Kokomo area? Networking, talking, dreaming, envisioning.” Originally, they had hoped to get a camp started next summer. “We first thought about hosting a one-day camp, since there’s not much in this area for families like ours,” Denny explained. “But experiencing VLC showed it as a life-changing experience if you let it be. It’s more than just camp.” The plan is for the Sipe family to come back next year as a serving family. Between now and then, Denny will be attending board meetings, beginning fundraising, and building connections in the Indianapolis area with the hope of starting camp in the Kokomo area in the summer of 2019. The joy of watching their children grow and interact inspires them to continue this effort toward building a new VLC experience in the Kokomo area. Paulette expressed that she saw Bracy, “go farther and be pushed more than he has in a long time. I’m surprised that he’s doing what he’s doing.” Denny shared in that sentiment, “What I did see was my kids connecting more than I thought they might. Rubbing shoulders with these people each day, it felt very much like a family, like a neighborhood. It was a great, great experience.”

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