Camp Independence makes waves with campers and new executive director

Published: Aug. 22, 2018 at 5:31 PM EDT
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Camp Independence is more than a camp, it’s a homecoming for these adult campers who have been coming for decades.

"It’s great, I have a good time," said Mary Leslie, a camper. "We can do things that we can’t do at home."

Through recreational and social activities, the campers learn more about themselves and push through their disabilities.

For long time camper, Caryn Cochran, she is challenging herself with kayaking.

"When I started it, I was scared," said Caryn.

For Caryn and her fellow campers, to be able to kayak in Lake Independence, they must complete in-water exits and rescues drill rescues in the pool, which can be nerve wracking.

"If the boat did accidentally capsize, we know they are going to get out and be okay," said Nancy Uschold, the kayak instructor.

But with the help of staff and campers, Caryn overcame her fear and is free to enjoy the waters of the Lake Independence alongside her friends.

"Kayaking is fun with the people that I love," said Caryn.

"When everyone is in the boat, it’s hard to see who’s a person that might have a disability because the wheelchairs are gone, the canes are gone and we are all just paddlers on the water," added Uschold.

It's moments like these that Clare Lutgen is looking forward to be a part of as the new executive director of Bay Cliff.

"Bay Cliff is not only something they see as an opportunity, but something they feel as is part of who they are as a member of this community and it is something that is really important to me," said Lutgen.

Bay Cliff said they are always looking for new campers as they have activities going all year long. For more information,