Spokane Hikes

December 16, 2016

Spokane, the Inland Empire, is the hub of culture, sports, and activity in Eastern Washington. To truly experience all four seasons, visit Spokane. The lilac city warms up above 100 degrees in the summer and sinks back down near zero in the winter so both summer and winter sports thrive. While snowboarding and kayaking are seasonal favorites, hiking in Spokane is a year-round event. Below is a list of hikes within 15 miles of downtown Spokane for locals and visitors to enjoy alike.

 

Little Spokane River Natural Area

The Little Spokane River Natural Area is located 11 miles north of downtown. Trails line the Little Spokane River for miles. Trails alongside the river are considerably flat and

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A view of the Little Spokane River near the Indian Painted Rocks. (Photo by Rachel Rogers)

surrounded by interesting wildlife and hills. Visitors often spot moose and deer not far from the trail. For visitors looking for more rigor, the Knothead Loop will be of interest. The loop is eight miles with an elevation gain of 1000 ft. There are several entrances to the Little Spokane River Nature Area, but the most popular entrance is located off Rutter Road. The entrance off Rutter Road is marked by the Indian Painted Rocks which are of interest to visitors at the park. The park is open all year long and enjoyable in all seasons.

 

 

Dishman Hills Conservancy

The Dishman Hills Conservancy is an area dedicated to land conservation. Dishman Hills is located about 7 miles east of downtown in Spokane Valley. The land includes six hiking loops in the main area. Loops include the Pond Loop, Pinecliff Loop, Deep Ravine Loop, Goldback Loop, Nimbus Knob, and Eagle Peak Loop. The loops intersect with one another, weaving throughout the park. Visitors can access the park from Siesta Drive, Sargent Road, and 8th Avenue.

 

Centennial Trail

The Centennial Trail is one of the lengthier trails in Eastern Washington. The paved trail is 40 miles long and tours Spokane from the east side to the west. Construction on the trail began for the Washington’s centennial celebration. The Centennial Trail begins at Riverside State Park, 12 miles northeast of downtown in the Nine Mile area. The beginning of the Centennial

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A view of the 1974 World’s Fair location as scene from Riverfront Park. One of many scenic views on the Centennial Trail. (Photo by Rachel Rogers)

Trail links to Riverside State Park’s multiple hiking trails (to be discussed in-depth later). From Riverside State Park, the Centennial Trail leads into the heart of downtown Spokane. The trail follows the Spokane River to the site of the 1974 World’s Fair. Visitors of the Centennial Trail can explore the bridges, the gondola ride, and all that downtown Spokane offers. While downtown, the Centennial Trail also gives a glimpse of Gonzaga University.

 

 

The trail continues to follow the Spokane River east to Spokane Valley. Much of the trail is along the river, but it departs into some residential areas for a mile or so in Spokane Valley. Upon returning to the river, the trail continues to the Idaho border where it connects to the North Idaho Centennial Trail for another 20 miles. The trail is easy to access as access points are located all along the 40-mile trail.

 

Antoine Peak

Antoine Peak is a conservation area in the northeast region of Spokane. The general access point for the peak is 15 miles from downtown and is located off Upriver Drive. The Antoine Peak summit is 3,373 feet and has a 360-degree view of the surrounding areas. The summit loop is a five-mile loop with an elevation gain of 732 feet. This trail is great for seeing deer and moose. Birdwatchers also flock to Antoine Peak to observe the birds in the conservation area. Antoine Peak is known for its wildflowers in the spring and summer as well as its winter accessibility which makes it a great hike all year round.

 

Bowl and Pitcher

Bowl and Pitcher is a park that makes up a

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The swinging bridge at Bowl and Pitcher Park. (Photo by Rachel Rogers)

fraction of Riverside State Park. The park is only six miles from downtown Spokane and offers rocky views of the Spokane River and many areas to explore. Basalt rocks and trails line the Spokane River at Bowl and Pitcher. The two-mile loop begins at a swinging bridge and continues along the opposite side of the river. Along the trail are climbable boulders that reveal beautiful views. The trail is mostly flat and is great for all ages.

 

 

South Hill Bluff

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View from High Drive looking over the South Hill Bluff. (Photo by Rachel Rogers)

Just three miles from downtown is a network of trails located on the South Hill. Between the South Hill and Latah Creek are 500 acres of trails made by volunteers. From end to end, the trail is three miles, but the network of trails is 23 miles in length. This is a great hike for those who want to stay in the city, while chasing great views of the expansive landscape south of Spokane. South Hill Bluff visitors have spotted cougar tracks,
beaver dams, porcupines, moose, and deer. There are access points along High Drive Street and on Sunset Boulevard.

 

For more information about trails in Washington, visit WTA.org.

 

Contact Rachel Rogers at Rrogers18@my.whitworth.edu

Following the rules is easy when you know what they are but what do you do when the rules vary?

When students head off campus the Big Three rules fall away, however what happens if the off-campus students are on a Whitworth sponsored trip? The answer is: it depends. In some cases all Big Three rules apply and in others the trip rules vary.

For most Whitworth-led trips the rules are left up to the leader’s discretion.

The Big Three are not mentioned at all in the procedures for off-campus events in the ASWU club manual given to club presidents.

Alcohol is mentioned once in the liability form for health insurance reasons in the student liability waiver.

It states, “I understand that if I am involved in an accident/incident and alcohol is involved, my health/travel insurance could be void.”

After that is it never mentioned again.

The only other guideline club officers have is the reasons a person might be pulled from an event.

Those reason are, “if is determined that [a student’s’] conduct is detrimental to the best interests of the group, [the student’s] conduct violates any rule of the Program, or for any other reason in the University’s discretion,” according to the off-campus liability waiver.

Although clubs rarely have events off-campus because of rules against transporting students in personal cars, the rules once off-campus are unclear.

The rules for Whitworth-led study abroad are equally vague.

Group study abroad leaders are given the “Off-Campus programs standard operating procedures” which specifies that the rules of the trip are left up to discretion of the program leaders.

“Behavioral expectations will vary from program to program,” according to the off-campus programs standard operating procedures.

The reason the rules are left to the discretion of the leaders is to account for cultural norms, said Charles Tappa, associate director of off campus programs.

Some trips such as the Anthropology in Hawaii trip led by professor Raja Tanas explicitly state that the Big Three rules apply. There is no alcohol use, cohabitation or disruption allowed.

Tanas views the trip as taking Whitworth to Hawaii not as an off campus course, he said.

“You’re on campus. We are away from campus but you are on campus,” Tanas said.

Other trips such as Core 250 in Europe led by Forrest Baird allow alcohol consumption.

“When you’re going an off-campus program you have to be a little more subjective,” Tappa said.

The rules should be different if the program goes to Britain where pub life is basically family life versus a majority muslim country where there is a drastically different drinking culture, Tappa said.

The program leader rules for off-campus programs are encouraged not only to take into consideration cultural norms but also enforceability.

“If you say we’re not going to allow that, you better never make a rule you’re not willing to enforce.”

For example, if a leader finds out a student legally had a beer at a pub but the program banned alcohol, the leader must send the student home-even though they didn’t do anything illegal, Tappa said.

Not only do the Big Three rules vary program to program but so do the rules set by the program leader.

Baird requires everyone on his trip to take umbrellas when it rains, he said.

Professor Megan Hershey who will be leading a trip of students to Tanzania in the spring has strict dress code rules.

“I want students to look as if they’ve been in the country for a while,” Hershey said. “First for safety reasons and also because it makes them more approachable.”

All of the group study abroad programs prioritize safety both for the individual safety of the students and for the group.

“A group of students have their own dynamic,” Tappa said.  “If a student is doing something dangerous or damaging the group dynamic sufferers and the experience lessons for the other students.”

The consequence of breaking a rule on an off-campus program is the leader can send the student home.

However, no students have ever been sent home as disciplinary action for at least 10 years, however, Tappa said.
Once the student returns to school there may or may not be consequences from Student Life as well.

Although more people are traveling today than they ever have before in history, the fear of terrorism has had an affect on where people are choosing to travel, but not usually for much longer than a month or so after an attack.

Tourism is a booming industry with 1 billion tourists having  traveled internationally between the months of January and September in 2016, according to the World Tourism Organization.

Tourism grew by five and six percent in  Northern, Central and Eastern Europe according the the World Tourism Organization.

However, not all countries are on the up-and-up. In 2016, Western Europe saw a one percent decrease in tourism, according to the World Tourism Organization.

Threats of terrorism and political unrest in a few European countries are attributed to the recent decline, according to the European Travel Commission quarterly report.

When booking trips travel agents are receiving questions about safety that go beyond the usual pickpocket or which areas to avoid at night. Terrorism is on the minds of many travelers, said Cathy Nystrom, travel agent with Edwards LaLone Travel.

“That always comes up these days,” said Nystrom. “It’s unfortunately become a way of life for us.”

Two countries have suffered more than others in terms of tourism over the past two years: Belgium and Turkey.

The number of Americans traveling to Belgium has decreased by 25 percent since 2015 and 37 percent less in Turkey “due to political unrest and terror threats,” according to the European Travel Commission quarterly report.

“In the last few months [tourism to Turkey has] pretty much tanked,” Nystrom said. “It’s a lot to do with government warnings and the environment feels too risky to Americans.”

Turkey has been on the U.S. State department travel warning list over the past year with the most recent warning released October 29, 2016.

The U.S. government also issued an alert on Europe on November 21, urging travelers to “exercise caution at holiday festivals, events and outdoor markets” due to the heightened risk of terrorist attacks, according to the U.S. department of state.

United states citizens were not alone in their avoidance of Belgium and Turkey. Tourists, both Europeans and non-Europeans, tended to avoid those two countries in 2016, according to the European Travel Commission quarterly report.

However, the terrorist attacks have not put people off of traveling altogether.  People simply travel to other countries instead.

“Those people who are experienced travelers still traveled,” Anciaux said. “They might just look at a different destination.”

There has been a double digit percentage increase in the number of people traveling to Spain, Hungary Portugal and Ireland, according to the World Tourism Organisation.

Cruises have also been a hot ticket item over the past few years.

“Cruising is still strong,” Anciaux said.  “People feel very safe on a cruise ship.”

However, a few months after an attack people will begin to start traveling to those countries again, Anciaux said.

After a major terrorist attack people will avoid that area for a month or so but usually the effect of the attack doesn’t last long, Anciaux said.

Some travel agents speculate that perhaps the reason people return after a lull to those countries is because the fear is no longer at the forefront of their minds.

“I don’t know if we’ve just become more accustomed or our memories are shorter about the fear,” Nystrom said.

Despite these travel trends, many people are still traveling to places the U.S government has issued warnings and alerts.

Edwards LaLone Travel continues to book trips to Europe every day, Nystrom said.

AAA also continues to book trips to Europe.

“It’s amazing how price can make a difference,” Anciaux said. “Pricing to Paris is very low right now. They kinda forget about the fear.

American students also continue to study abroad. One in 10 undergraduates study abroad before graduating, according to the Institute of International Education’s open doors data. The top three places students travel are the United Kingdom, Italy and Spain.

Students are also traveling to countries with U.S. travel warnings. The number of students studying abroad in Belgium increased 9.3% between 2015 and 2016, according to the Institute of International Education’s open doors data.

Gonzaga University’s study abroad program is one of the programs which continues to see students who want to go to those European cities that have been targets of terrorist attacks, said Richard Menard the director of study abroad at Gonzaga.

Similar trends have been occurring at Whitworth University, said Sue Jackson director of study abroad programs at Whitworth.

“Of the students who know they want to study abroad, they’re still studying abroad,” Jackson said.

Whitworth University is sending a student to Belgium Spring 2017.

Senior at St. Louis University, Blessing Kuebee, who studied abroad in Belgium during the time of the March 20 attack said she can’t wait to go back.

“Some of the same elements that occur in an act that is labeled as a terrorist attack happen here, in my hometown,” said Kuebee. “Why should I let that stop me from traveling?”

The sentiment that bad things happen everywhere seems to be a recurring theme with travelers.
“People look at the world and go it’s not a safe place,” Menard said. “But my response is that if you look at the 50 most dangerous cities in the world the US cities are on there. It’s not much more safe here.”

Singing into success

December 15, 2016

He laughed and looked away, blood colored his cheeks, “Well they do call me Sonic, ya know, after Sonic the hedgehog…” After a brief pause, he pushed back his hat, revealing his electric blue hair and explained, “That is how you know that you are officially part of the band; they give you a nickname.” He never thought that getting accepted into his first band would have such an impact on his life, but he was certainly in for a pleasant surprise.

Ever since he can remember, Brendan Lutmer has had a passion for music. He grew up singing along to the radio in the car and trying to teach himself how to play the guitar without any formal lessons; music was his stress reliever. It was not until he was 14 that he realized he may be able to make a career out of his love for music. Four years later that is exactly what he is doing.

Lutmer is the lead singer for a local Spokane band called 37 Street Signs. At 18 years old, Lutmer is not only the youngest member of the band, but is also one of the youngest people to ever possibly perform at the largest traveling music festival in the United States, Van’s Warped Tour. The Warped Tour is a traveling rock festival that has toured the United States each summer since 1995 making it the longest-running touring music festival in North America.

“The first time I realized that making it big in the music industry might be possible for me was after we opened for my favorite band called Free the Jester at The Pin. After our set Cameron Moore, the band’s lead vocalist, came up to me and said that he thinks I have what it takes and that he was a big fan of our music,” Lutmer said. “I am pretty sure my jaw hit the floor. One of my favorite musicians was a fan of our band?”

It is not without sacrifice that Lutmer has found so much success at such a young age. Between family, school, friends, work, and his music, he says there is not always enough hours in the day. He has to find a way to be the student his parents expect him to be, the friend his peers know and love, the musician his band deserves, and the hardworking employee Pizza Hut hired. He admits he is often forced to prioritize music before his social life.  While he hates to let his friends down, he promised himself the first time he stepped on stage with 37 Street Signs two years ago, he would never let anything get in the way of his dreams.

One of the biggest challenges he has faced is a struggle that many can relate to; high school. While he admits he has never really “been big on school”, the past two years have been especially difficult.

“The curriculum is just kind of boring,” he said, eyes focused on the ground, as his fingers pick uncomfortably at a fray in his dark washed jeans, “and the classes are not fast-paced enough to hold my attention,” he confesses, crossing his arms in front of his chest. “All I think about while I am in class is all the other things I could be doing.”

On top of that, Lutmer is the only member of 37 Street Signs still in school. His seven hour school day sometimes makes it tough for the band to schedule meetings, rehearsals and sound checks. Though Lutmer said he cannot deny that the idea of dropping out of high school has crossed his mind before, school is something his parents have strictly enforced.

“Even though Brendan’s father and I are his biggest fans, our priority is to be his parents,” Brendan’s mother, Katie, explained. She says she has always tried to support his music in any way that she can, but emphasizes that school comes first. “He can stay out late at shows and rehearsals as long as he does his homework and keeps his grades up. As soon as he graduates from high school he is free to do as he pleases but he has to walk across that stage and get his diploma first,” Katie said.

Lutmer plans on taking classes over the summer so that he can graduate a semester early. He hopes this will allow him the time he needs in order dive even further into his music career. After graduation he wants to move into a house with his fellow band members. Together they want to plan a tour across the Pacific Northwest. Their goal is to play shows at larger venues, in cities such as Seattle and Portland.

One exciting step in the direction toward achieving their dream of a traveling tour is recent talk with the 2017 Warped Tour organizers. They have been discussing possibly having the band preform some of their unreleased music at the next festival.

“It would be exciting to share with everyone the songs we have been working so hard on for the past year,” the band’s drummer, Jake Fuentes, said, exchanging a look with Brendan.

“Yeah!” Lutmer agreed, “It has been so hard keeping these songs to ourselves.  But you never want to give too much of your music away. Not for free at least! And what a huge audience to share it with” he laughed.

“It has been so cool watching all the guys become the performers they are today,” the band’s manager Shelby Gagnier said, “they have changed so much over the past two years and I can’t wait to see how much they continue to grow and change even more over time.”

What’s next for the band? They are not entirely sure. Lutmer hopes that if they do get picked up by Warped Tour then new venues will be interested in hiring them to preform shows around town. In the meantime, he plans to try and focus on finding some normalcy in his extremely busy life.

Through it all, his end goal remains the same. All Brendan Lutmer really wants is to continue following his dreams. His biggest aspiration? Headlining at Download Music Festival, a British rock festival, held annually at Donington Park in Leicestershire, England.

“That is how I will know I have really made it, if I get a chance to play at Download. Last year more than 800,000 people attended the festival! For now it is just a daydream, but I know that someday people will know my name.”

What the Heck is a Gami??

December 15, 2016

The Whitworth University campus ministry program has gained two new additions to their family this year. These additions are the Graduate Assistant Ministry Interns.

The GAMI program is a program that employs two new interns every two years and in addition to working in and closely with the chapel and its programs, the interns also become graduate assistants who are currently in a Whitworth program to receive a masters in theology.

Olivia Eldredge is the GAMI for Music and Worship. A Whitworth graduate of May 2016, Eldredge didn’t know what she was going to do after graduation.

“I knew I wanted to be some sort of worship director or leader,” Eldredge said. “I was also getting married in June, so there was this pressure to figure it out.” She thought the door to the GAMI program had been closed until it was offered to her in May.

“I graduated and accepted the offer because I was deeply impacted by the worship ministry here when I was a student,” Eldredge said. “I get to empower people to live into the gifts that God has given them.”

Eldredge has described her time as a GAMI as “good and a showing of the faithfulness of God.” She is constantly seeing glimpses of hope and promise in her job. As the music and worship intern, Eldredge has a passion for music and singing that has come from her childhood.

Born and raised in Kent, Washington, Eldredge has “been doing music her entire life.” She was in choir since she could walk and then was classically trained in piano for 6 years. Because her older sister also attended Whitworth and was involved with campus choir and worship, Eldredge knew from the beginning that is what she wanted to do. In her time at Whitworth she was a part of a worship team in Hosanna and on the Whitworth choir, and her senior year she was a team lead on her Hosanna team.

“It is in leading that you have the chance to create a space for people to worship.” Eldredge said.

“I feel like she is my leader but also my friend,” Chapel worship leader Annie Quatier said. Eldredge works closely with the chapel worship teams and Hosanna in order to create a space for all students to worship.

Jake Chipka is also a GAMI but has a different role. As the GAMI of Athletics and Outreach ministry, Chipka is combining his love of sports with his love of ministry.

“It has been so cool to see and feel how athletics and ministry goes together.” Chipka said. Originally from South Talito, Ohio, Chipka grew up playing baseball. His love for it followed him to college as he attended Hope College in Michigan.

“Hope transformed my life,” Chipka said. “It is where someone first asked me ‘how is God going to use you to change the world?’” Chipka graduated with a bachelors degree in kinesiology and was applying to medical schools when Whitworth campus pastor Forrest Buckner reached out to him while on Hope’s campus.

“He offered me the internship on the spot,” Chipka said. “The more and more I looked in to it and thought about it, it became abundantly clear that it was God opening this door for me.”

As the GAMI of Athletics and Outreach ministry, Chipka works closely with Awake to reach students across campus. He also works with many student athletes in order to help them along with their faith and walk along side of them.

Something that Chipka brought to Whitworth’s campus is the “night of inspiration.” Originally the idea was lived out at Hope College and Chipka saw a need for it at Whitworth. The night of inspiration takes place once a month on a Friday and is hosted at a Whitworth donor’s home.

“The night of inspiration consists fifteen to twenty faith centered athletes representing as many teams as possible,” Chipka said. “This is a time where we talk about how they see God moving on campus, on their teams, and how we can bring Jesus closer to Whitworth athletics.”

Both GAMIs are currently in the masters program of theology at Whitworth and should complete the program within the two years they serve as interns.

 

 

 

Students choose Whitworth for many different reasons and for some that reason is the feeling that they are encouraged to grow in their faith on campus and are able to have the resources to do that. The Whitworth Chapel plays a large role in this, acting as home to some of the most influential staff members and campus ministry programs.

“In my job I get to cultivate opportunities for every student at Whitworth to grow with Jesus,” Campus Pastor and Dean of Spiritual Life Forrest Buckner said. Forrest joined the Whitworth faculty in 2014 after completing seminary at Fuller Seminary in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

While living in Colorado, Buckner took seminary classes part-time and also directed high school ministry at a local Presbyterian church. Having competed his undergrad in engineering, Bucker never thought that he would one day become a campus pastor.

Buckner was first introduced to Christ in high school through the Fellowship of Christian Athletes program. It was here that he first got a Bible and was baptized. Buckner took his passion for FCA to college with him, leading a fellowship that was named club of the year at the public university because of its immense growth and passion.

After college, Buckner returned to the church he was baptized at and became the high school ministry director. Here he met his wife Janelle who was volunteering in the middle school ministry. The Buckner family then moved to Scotland for 3 years where Buckner completed a PhD in systematic theology.

“Systematic theology is looking at the whole picture of the Bible as it has been understood throughout the history of the church and what that means,” Buckner said. “I dreaded theology at first, I didn’t think it was very applicable. Then I learned that everyone is a theologian because everyone is thinking about God in one way or another.”

It was in Scotland that Buckner had his “conversion to theology” and is now passionate about applying these things at Whitworth in the chapel.

“Whether it is at chapel or in the dorms, all of these things correspond with the truth and reality of God,” Buckner said. “I want chapel to be a place where every student is welcome and therefore our ministry needs to be theologically thoughtful because that’s what God does and is.”

In addition to holding the title of campus pastor, Buckner also serves as the Dean of Spiritual Life on campus. In this position he serves as a part of the administrative staff and is on President Beck Taylor’s cabinet. He also is a member of the diversity cabinet and is a part of the interview process for new faculty.

“As Dean of Spiritual Life, it is my job to provide a particular lens,” Buckner said. “I think it is neat that I work at a place that has this particular job because it shows how important a Christian mission is to Whitworth.”

In addition to leading chapel services on every Tuesday and Thursday, Buckner also has the opportunity to lead and oversee the campus ministry teams. These include student-led ministries like worship-oriented Hosanna, athletic outreach oriented Awake, and small-group ministry in the dorms.

“We are able to reach out to the corners of campus and provide a place where everyone is truly welcome,” Awake ministry coordinator Daniel Johnson said. “It is not just us; we are a broader family.”

The chapel has also gained two new staff members in addition to Buckner. Jake Chipka and Olivia Eldredge are serving as the Graduate Assistant Ministry Interns. Eldredge serves as the GAMI for Music and Worship while Chipka is serving as the GAMI of Athletics and Outreach Ministry.

“All of our student leaders on campus ministry have been intentional of being together and working together,” Buckner said. “God is being God and we’re going to see it this semester.”

Chapel services are held every Tuesday and Thursday at 11 a.m. in the chapel and Hosanna is held every Tuesday night in the chapel at 9:45 p.m. Awake is also held in the chapel and meets every Wednesday night at 9:30 p.m.

JUNIOR WHEELCHAIR SPORTS CAMP

December 15, 2016

13698188_1318009471550534_6714620884788532271_oQuoted “the best week ever” by campers, the Junior Wheelchair Sports Camp celebrated

its 30 year anniversary this summer. Sponsored by Cottage Rehabilitation Hospital and the Cottage Rehabilitation Hospital Foundation, kids ages 6-19, with a range of physical disabilities, get to experience a free week of adaptive sports and activities every summer at the University of California, Santa Barbara recreation center.

JWSC is five day adaptive sports camp consisting of about eight main sports, three adventure courses, and an activity in the arts, says camp director René Vanhoorn. Campers are exposed to basketball, tennis, soccer, handcycling, kayaking, scuba diving, ropes course, rock climbing and more.

“My favorite is swimming,” says 13-year-old Hannah Martinez, “because it feels like I get to be free and walk on my own as I’m walking in the water.”

The last day of JWSC, campers’ families come for dinner and an awards ceremony, where Martinez won an award for being the best swimmer last year.

Counselors

Camp counselors and sports instructors are all wheelchair users, mentoring campers to live an active, healthy, and more independent lifestyle.

“They are mentors and role models who can help campers problem solve, and have discussions about lifestyle and personal care as well,” says Vanhoorn.

“It means a lot to me, to be able to impact someone’s self-esteem for the better, and relate through difficulties and similarities of being a wheelchair user,” says Cynthia Muñoz, JWSC counselor of 18 years.

“JWSC isn’t just a sports camp,” says Muñoz, “we are teaching self-esteem and coping mechanisms to live life in a healthy way.”

JWSC is transformational and life changing, says Muñoz. Muñoz was a camper the first year of JWSC in 1986 and for another 11 years before becoming a counselor.

“I recall not being exposed to many things,” says Muñoz, “I was shy and intimidated so camp was really an eye-opening experience where I was given the opportunity to engage.”

As a camp counselor, Muñoz acknowledges campers’ fears, while pushing them out of their comfort zones. Counselors and campers cheer each other on and celebrate campers’ successes.

“It’s a neat experience to be apart of,” says Muñoz. “It’s about trying new things and having fun, being a kid, and enjoying life.”

Campers

Kids ride busses to camp each day from Santa Barbara, Ventura, and San Luis Obispo counties, and some even commute from Los Angeles and Bakersfield, says Vanhoorn.

JWSC has the capacity to serve up to 50 kids who have a range of physical disabilities, including cerebral palsy, spina bifida, muscle dystrophy, and genetic disorders.

The main qualifications to be eligible for JWSC is the camper must use a wheelchair, maintain attention for at least 15 minutes, be able to grasp an object, and communicate their

needs. If campers are not able to perform the main qualifications, they can come to JWSC with a personal aid, says volunteer coordinator Leslie Lanaan.

Volunteers

Volunteer coordinator since 2012, Lanaan coordinates at least 60 volunteers each summer to make camp the best it can be for the campers.

“Volunteers don’t need to have experience working with people with disabilities,” says Lannan, “but volunteers are people who see ways campers can participate, and who want to be friends with the campers.”

For many of the volunteers, JWSC is a learning experience, says Lanaan.

“The beauty of the volunteers is they are not only there to assist and be an extension of the camper to help them stay engaged, but they also are there for the socialization,” says Vanhoorn.

“The best part is definitely watching campers try a sport for the first time and totally loving it,” says Tara Vanhoorn, volunteer of 10 years, “and the connections I make with all the campers and volunteers; it’s like family.”

JWSC is “the best camp ever” for volunteers as well as for the campers because it is so rewarding, says Tara Vanhoorn. She has become good friends with some of the campers over the years.

“Volunteers take their experiences at JWSC back out into the world and help break down the stigmas that others have about people with disabilities,” says Lanaan.

Resources

While JWSC is mainly recreational, it is classified as a Paralympic sport club and the staff helps to provide resources for kids who show high interest in pursuing athletics, says Vanhoorn. A couple of the sports instructors have been to the Paralympics, says Vanhoorn.

For the kids who want to pursue sports outside of JWSC once a summer, Vanhoorn and staff provides campers and their families with information on the Challenged Athletes Foundation, which grants hand cycles and sports chairs to kids in need, and Athletes Helping Athletes, which also provides hand cycles.

“JWSC always has reverse community integration as well,” says Vanhoorn. EMT’s and the local rescue squad played wheelchair basketball against campers last year, and the UCSB rugby team plays against campers most every summer, says Vanhoorn.

“You have to meet the kids where they are at,” says Muñoz. “Camp is to expose the kids to what is out there.”

“We focus on the strengths of our campers,” says Lanaan. “The wheelchair is just a tool; it doesn’t define a person’s abilities.”

Oftentimes campers’ social circles are limited, says Vanhoorn. After JWSC, campers can know how to adapt to play and engage with other kids who don’t use wheelchairs, rather than not participating, says Vanhoorn. “The ultimate goal is to empower these kids.”

Written by McKensey Richmond (805) 245-9189 mrichmond18@my.whitworth.edu

Sources

  • René Vanhoorn – JWSC camp director (805) 569-8999 x82102 rvanhoor@sbch.org
  • Leslie Lanaan – JWSC volunteer coordinator (805) 689-5809 jwsc.volunteers@gmail.com
  • Cynthia Muñoz – JWSC camp counselor and previous camper (805) 895-6685cyngigglesalot@yahoo.com
  • Tara Vanhoorn – JWSC volunteer (805) 883-8632
  • Hannah Martinez – JWSC camper (minor and can’t share contact information)