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SIOUX CITY -- With one camp element finished last year and the goal of adding a boathouse soon, Camp High Hopes officials keep expanding pieces for people with disabilities.

When it opened seven years ago on 90 acres at 5804 Correctionville Road, a half-mile east of Bacon Creek Park, Camp High Hopes became the second camp in Iowa for people with disabilities. The specialty camp offers year-round therapeutic recreation programs designed to enrich the lives of children and adults with diagnosed disabilities, special needs and chronic illnesses such as Autism, Down Syndrome, Spina Bifida, Cerebral Palsy, Muscular Dystrophy and other intellectual and physical disabilities.

"Since Camp High Hopes opened its doors in 2012, we have served thousands of campers with disabilities from Iowa, Nebraska and South Dakota," Camp High Hopes Executive Director Chris Liberto said.

"We regularly see repeat campers and see tremendous growth among those who visit us. Likewise, the camp is still fielding applications for first-time campers and we have plans to add exciting new activities and features in 2019 to ensure all campers have a good experience whether it’s their first time or 10th time."

Starting in 2004, Camp High Hopes organizers sought to raise roughly $14 million to build the recreational facility. The phase-one project of $5.5 million created the initial group of buildings, and in May 2018 the Yorkshire Welcome Center opened.

The welcome center contains administrative offices and an expanded storage area. Previously, employees holding those roles were spread through various spots.

"The welcome center, and the storage that it provides, is going to allow us to free up a lot more space for programs for our campers," Liberto said last year.

Next up to be added is the Lincolnshire Boathouse. Fundraising is still under way for the boathouse, with more than half of the needed amount on hand. For now there is no projected time for construction to begin, Liberto said.

"As a non-profit, much of what we do is dependent upon adequate funding and we are extremely grateful to the donors who have given to new projects including the Yorkshire Welcome Center and our two newer cabins. As of the start of 2019, we have roughly 60 percent of funds needed for a boathouse and adaptive restroom facility," Liberto said.

The boathouse and welcome center are the last parts of phase two of the camp's 20-year master plan, which was drafted a few years ago. Also in phase two were two new cabins, finished in 2015 and 2016, plus a boat dock built in 2015.

The idea for Camp High Hopes came from Gary Turbes, the executive director for Mid Step Services in Sioux City, as patterned on Camp Courageous in Monticello, Iowa.

In 2018, 500 people participated in camp activities. Most are from Iowa, Nebraska, and South Dakota. Periodically, people from Minnesota, Texas, Washington and other states take part in activities at the camp, Advancement Director Sarah Morgan said.

Morgan said one popular piece of the camp includes six-week After Hours programs where campers can pick from such activities as archery, ping-pong or aerobic drumming. The participants use more involved techniques as the weeks pass.

Ten people are employed year-round at the camp. During the summer, that number grows to nearly 50.

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