LIFE— it stands for Leadership, Independence and Friends through Experiences, and it’s what embodies the spirit of Camp LIFE, a unique and inclusive camping adventure for children with disabilities and their siblings.
Held twice a year in Burton, Texas at the accessible facilities of Camp For All, Camp LIFE provides recreation for children ages 5-21 and their siblings while offering a weekend of respite for their parents.
Texas A&M graduate Sterling Leija (Class of '02) founded Camp LIFE in 2004 with the support of Dr. Amy Sharp, director of the Family Support Network at Texas A&M University.
Leija's vision began as part of a self-directed study at Texas A&M University and has now served more than 600 children with disabilities throughout Texas. Camp LIFE is now celebrating its tenth year of operation.
Camp LIFE gives campers the choice to participate in every activity you would see at any other traditional camp. Campers can experience horseback riding, fishing, archery, the zip line and rope course activities, as well as a petting zoo, canoeing, dancing and even karaoke.
The camp is staffed by pre-service special education students at Texas A&M who have the rare opportunity to experience a weekend supporting children like those they will one day serve in the classroom. Availability of a one-to-one counselor to camper ratio ensures that each camper with a disability receives the support he or she needs to fully participate in all activities. Additionally, sibling campers enjoy an extra dose of attention not always available to them when their parents are understandably busy caring for their child who has special needs.