MOUNT GILEAD — The record for campers was set this year at Flying Horse Farms with 901 campers served. Flying Horse Farms is the camp for children with serious illnesses and their families located just east of Mount Gilead on 200 acres.
500 campers were served the first full year of camp in 2011 and the numbers of children and families has grown each year. FHF Development Manager Pete Aubry said that the grand total of campers served since 2010 is 5,938.
Aubry said the camp and staff, “continues to be humbled by the way the community embraces the work of the camp. The life-changing experience of camp continues to be free for every camper thanks to generous donations of cash and time.”
Sara Knight, Communications Manager for Flying Horse Farms, said that camp has more than 2,000 volunteer spots to fill each year. In 2018 there were 133 people from Mount Gilead and Morrow County that filled 351 of those volunteer spots.
Knight listed some of the volunteers that included 100 members of the Mount Gilead eighth grade class and 15 people from the Mount Gilead High School baseball team. 12 local men known as the “Over-the-hill gang” came 18 times to lend their help.
Longtime camp supporters Bill and Pam Kreeger each volunteered for one full weeklong session and also came to each summer camp session to greet camper families as they arrived. Cathy Francis volunteered in the kitchen several times and six other community members also volunteered occasionally.
Aubry and Knight also thanked the quilters at Snuggled in Hope for continuing to provide keepsake quilts for all of the Flying Horse Farms summer campers.
Courtney, who is an 18-year-old camper said, “It‘s crazy what just that ounce of camp spirit, or a quilt or an old camp name tag hanging on your bedroom wall can get you through. I wish everyone in need had this to help them get by and learn about and love themselves! Camp IS good medicine.”
The camping experience is transformative and magical for campers living with serious illnesses such as cancer and arthritis. Campers get to enjoy activities such as swimming and archery while receiving first-rate care at an on-site, state-of-the-art health center. The health center is staffed 24/7 by medical professionals from children’s hospitals across Ohio and beyond.
Flying Horse Farms is a member of The Serious Fun Children’s Network (SFCN), The network was founded in 1988 by actor, and Ohio native Paul Newman. The network is a community of independently managed and financed camps and programs creating opportunities for children with serious illnesses worldwide.
“The meaning of camp cannot be explained by simple words,” said Marin a 15 year old camper. “It is a bubbly feeling and warm, telling you that you can fly. That is why it is called Flying Horse Farms. There are no horses, and it is not really a farm. But when you are there, you learn that anything is possible- that everything is possible.”
For information on Flying Horse Farms their website is: www.flyinghorsefarms.org, Flying Horse Farms, 5260 State Route 95, Mount Gilead, Ohio 43338. Their phone number is 419-751-7077.