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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Making Smiles Possible

Posted on: Wednesday March 1, 2017

By: Christy Ragle

It’s not easy being a parent with a child who has special needs. In addition to energy spent in typical family life, there are doctor visits, therapy appointments, time off of work, and insurance negotiations. The expenses can quickly add up, making it difficult to add “extras” into the family budget. Victory Lane Camp realizes that while all families can benefit from a camp experience, affording it may be another matter. Victory Lane Camp wants to ensure that all families can go to camp. VLC automatically pays half of the costs associated with a family attending a camp session. Camp costs cover lodging, food, training sessions, and activities that combine therapy with fun and education. On-staff medical and therapy personnel ensure that each child’s needs are met. Serving families come alongside each Victory family to help with daily tasks, errands, and just to enjoy camp together. We ask each family to contribute a small amount toward camp costs and then help with fundraising the remaining amount. These fundraising efforts support the Family Scholarship Fund, which was established to help families of children with special needs afford camp. Your small investment will result in one of the most memorable weeks for your family. Here is what some of our families are saying about their camp experiences: “We felt like everyone was there to support us and help us understand how to help our child.” -Natasha “Unless you experience it, you just don’t know. This was well worth it.” -Todd “When I take my son out in public, people stare at him because he’s different. At Victory Lane Camp, I’m watching my son in a pool laughing and playing, and people are playing with him and engaging with him.” -Cindy Learn more about what camp can mean for your family by connecting with our team. www.VictoryLaneCamp.org/start

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Finding Restoration and Refuge: The Upchurch’s Journey

Posted on: Thursday February 23, 2017

By: Amber Estelle

Dara and David Upchurch are a blended family of eight. Noah is on the autism spectrum, and Caden was born with spina bifida. Through Victory Lane Camp (VLC), the Upchurch family connected with a community of people on similar roads in life, coming together to support one another. They discovered refuge, restoration, and hope. Life before Victory Lane Camp is now a distant memory to Dara Upchurch. She described, “It's hard to remember life before VLC. It was lonely. Life before VLC was very rocky. Our family was torn. David and I were on the brink of a divorce.” Through the help of family crew chief Sarah Urwin, support of Paige Fischer, and a connection made with Jerry Ingalls, the Upchurch family found restoration at Victory Lane Camp. The journey wasn’t easy for the Upchurch family. “It was challenging to begin with. And a little scary. Because you’re pushed to get out of your own little bubble and where you feel safe. We were pushed out of our comfort zones. The more you’re in it, and the more you commit, the easier it gets. The journey is getting more exciting and easier,” Dara expressed. Through these experiences and adventures, each member of the family has made a personal connection with VLC. David enjoys the fellowship and positive relationships built with other families in similar situations. Noah’s favorite part is making new friends while Hunter’s is being able to help other kids. Caden loves having play dates and Audrey likes the relationships made with others and feeling like she’s a part of another big family. Austin appreciates seeing people accomplish things they’ve never done before, and to Isaac, Victory Lane Camp means happiness. After seeing the impact VLC has had on their family, the Upchurches continue to use their story, hope, and passion to help other families connect with VLC. Dara takes time to connect to other families and pull them in to new experiences. “I’m very passionate. That comes through to people, and I just tell them all about the exciting things that happen,” she explained. “I think because we are so involved and find it so exciting and fun, it brings other people on board. They want to be a part of it.” The Upchurch family came to Victory Lane Camp in need of refuge. There, they found it and more. As they continue to grow and learn with the VLC family, they are ready for the next step. Dara expressed, “We’re up for more of the challenges and ready to reach out to other families because we believe in VLC, and we know that VLC’s purpose is greater than us, and we want to be a part of that.” Find out how you can become part of Victory Lane Camp: www.VictoryLaneCamp.org/start

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