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Published: Wednesday, 8/3/2005

Whitehouse: Camp Courageous aims for improvements


As the summer camping season winds down, Camp Courageous is gearing up for a new season that could bring construction workers in hard hats rather than campers in sandals to its 85-acre site near Whitehouse.

As part of a major capital-improvement project, plans call for construction to get under way possibly this fall on a new aquatics facility. That facility would serve as a cornerstone for the camp as it moves toward year-round programming, said Cheryl Tresnan, executive director of Camp Courageous that offers overnight camps, programs, and respite weekends for children and adults with disabilities.

Fund-raising is under way for the master plan project. Plans call for upgrading and/or adding year-round housing and corporate-meeting facilities; paving pathways, and improving water and sewer infrastructure. The camp's pool, built in the 1960s, would be replaced by a competitive-sized pool with a zero-depth entry that could be used by those with limited mobility, she said.

The pool would be constructed as an outdoor facility that could be enclosed as part of a year-round camp, Ms. Tresnan said. An indoor picnic area might be added, too.

As a year-round facility, the camp could be open to the community for a variety of services and programs, said Ms. Tresnan. It could draw visitors from the nearby communities of Swanton, Whitehouse, and Waterville, for example, she said.

Other upgrades include a new pathway system. "The biggest thing we emphasize is that the camp is accessible," she said. "We want to put in a whole new pathway system. We are raising money for that as well."

Lott Industries, a nonprofit corporation that provides employment for people with mental retardation and developmental disabilities, awarded a $200,000 grant to Camp Courageous toward its master plan project. Lott Industries is a component of the Lucas County Board of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities.

Of that amount, $175,000 was earmarked for the new pool and $25,000 was designated for an architectural study on enhancements to make the pool a year-round facility, said Lon Mitchell, spokesman for the Lucas County MRDD board.

The grant, he said, was provided with the understanding that there could be job opportunities or at least negotiations about job opportunities for Lott Industries' employees at the year-round camp.

Camp Courageous, located along State Rt. 64, could become a provider for work projects for Lott Industries, such as for landscaping, janitorial, and kitchen jobs, said Ms. Tresnan.

It could be three years before the camp becomes a year-round facility, she said.

The camp, which features wheelchair-accessible dormitories, remote cabins, activity shelter houses, an outdoor chapel, a sports field, dining hall, and nature trails, has more than 200 campers annually.

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