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.”