The Portage/Waupaca chapter hosted a guided hike in Hartman Creek State Park on June 26, 2022 for families participating in the KAMP-OUT weekend program!
Diane Gafney, the coordinator of KAMP-OUT, explained KAMP-OUT is a program funded by The Glenn Stacey Fund from The Wisconsin Center for Blind and Visually Impaired Children. The program, which started in 2016, provides weekend camping experiences for families in Wisconsin who have a visually impaired child. The goal of the program is to help families make connections to the great outdoors, specifically within state parks, and to help family members connect to one another in new ways. A schedule of different activities held throughout the weekend is provided for the families, and they can decide which activities they participate in. KAMP-OUT visits a new Wisconsin State Park every two years.
This year, KAMP-OUT had seven families attend the program and four kids who are visually impaired, along with their parents and siblings, participated in the hike at Hartman Creek State Park.
At the beginning of the hike Theresa and Brock Jansen, members of SNOTT (Snails on the Trail), shared their story of the adventures and challenges they faced on the Ice Age Trail. They also handed out SNOTT patches to all the kids.
Then, Amanda Fischer, a dedicated volunteer of the Portage/Waupaca chapter, led the families on a hike through the Trail. Along the way, she shared information and history about the Ice Age Trail and described what the kids were experiencing during the hike.
The group made several stops to feel moss, climb rocks, and touch trees. Some of the members even ended the hike barefoot “to take in the experience through our feet and feel the trail in a new way.” And, “while not all could see the yellow blazes on the trees or posts, many were pointed out and we stopped to notice and describe them.”
Gafney explained the KAMP-OUT hikes are “not about speed or distance, it’s about getting OUT and experiencing all that the trail has to offer and using all of our senses.”
The KAMP-OUT program plans to return to Hartman Creek State Park in June 2023 and they hope to do other sections of the Ice Age Trail throughout the weekend
A huge thank you to Diane and Amanda for sharing detailed information about the program and pictures from their hike.
Happy Hiking, KAMP-OUT participants!