The Story of Camp Joy

I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you and watch over you. ~Psalm 32:8

Joan Van De Wall

Camp Joy, a residential summer camp that serves adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities, started in 1982. Camp Joy is located on The Rochester Rotary Sunshine Campus.

Over the last three decades the camping experience has seen some exciting changes to the program. There are now eighteen different activity choices for the campers to take part in daily. A camper’s disability is not the focus of the camp; independence and ability are stressed in every program in which a camper participates.

One thing that has remained constant is the Mission Statement that has been in place since the first year:

Camp Joy, led by the Holy Spirit, will seek to provide a Christ-centered residential camp for persons with disabilities. We strive to bring the word of God to our campers on their level of understanding. Our prayer is that campers and staff will grow together in the love of Christ.

Originally the camp was sponsored by The Upstate New York Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America. In January, 2015, Camp Joy became both incorporated and a not-for-profit.

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