SIOUX CITY | Dr. Thomas Wente has a vested interest in Camp High Hopes.
"Having a son with Duchenne muscular dystrophy, I see the need for this exceptional organization and want to see it succeed," he said.
The camp recently announced Wente will serve as the nonprofit's volunteer medical director.
"It's so important to have specialized care available for the special campers that Camp High Hopes will be serving," Executive Director Ali Langseth said. "Some of our campers will require medication multiple times per day, and others may require assistance with specialized medical devices. I am so happy to have Dr. Wente's assistance in supporting the medical needs of the camp."
Camp High Hopes is an organization dedicated to providing year-round residential camping experiences for children and adults with disabilities. The campers participate in recreational, therapeutic and educational programs.
"Ali is a friend of our family and approached me with the need for a medical director for Camp High Hopes," Wente explained. "I am honored to be able to provide my expertise and assistance to a camp that will make such a positive impact in the lives of individuals with special needs. Helping this camp and the campers they serve is very important to me."
Wente will provide knowledge, direction and oversight to the camp's medical policies and procedures as well as be accessible to the camp's on-site medical staffers to help guide them as they care for the medical needs of individual campers.
"I support the camp's nurse/medical department," he said. "I write prescriptions for medications, oxygen or medical equipment the campers might need. I review the health histories of the campers and make sure their medical needs are met. I review the camp's routine and emergency medical procedures, as well as support any health needs from the staff."
A Siouxland native, Wente earned his degree in osteopathic medicine from the University of Osteopathic Medicine in Des Moines. As a provider of family practice medicine, Wente has been in practice with Family Health Care of Siouxland clinics.
"As a physician and a parent of a child with special needs, I would feel very confident in leaving my son in the care of Ali and her staff," he said. "They thought of everything when it comes to the needs of these campers, and there's room to grow."
Camp High Hopes includes 90 acres of land and an eight-acre lake off Correctionville Road. As with most nonprofits, funding is a challenge, Wente acknowledged.
"The biggest challenge facing the camp is possibly the continued need for financial support, getting the word out there so the facility is used as it was intended, and possibly growth in the future," he said.
But with challenges come joys, Wente admitted.
"I am honored to have been asked to be a part of this incredible organization, although my part is small," he said. "Ali and her staff have committed so much time and effort to make Camp High Hopes and to serve these special children and adults with disabilities. It's a great joy to see Ali's hard work pay off and to see these special people be able to experience the camp's great staff and programs."