ELLSWORTH AIR FORCE BASE, S.D. – Members and their families stationed at Ellsworth had the chance to participate in Camp SoDak Hearts in Rapid City, S.D. from Oct. 15-17.
SoDak Hearts is a communal event created by Camp Together Living a Challenge made for military families with children who are diagnosed with neurodevelopmental disorders such as attention deficit disorder, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, autism spectrum disorder and other conditions. The organization allows children to unite as a community to meet other kids who understand what they are going through while building their confidence and self-esteem.
“My oldest son Keagan is happy to know that he’s not alone in this battle,” said Master Sgt. Micah Doran, 28th Bomb Wing Inspector General inspector. “He finally has a sense of community.”
SoDak Hearts also allows the parents of these children to share their experiences and give each other advice on how to properly provide the care and guidance their children need.
“It was a great opportunity to bring people together and I got to meet several families [like mine],” said Master Sgt. Steven Javinar, 28th Civil Engineer Squadron water and fuels systems section chief. “Hopefully it gave people some hope, knowing that there are resources out there.”
The camp also allowed parents to spend quality time with their kids. The families were able to bond over playing Halloween bingo, family Olympics, smashing a piñata, swimming and riding rides at the amusement park, and a petting zoo.
“The biggest thing is kindling those relationships [and] getting to know people,” said Javinar. “[SoDak Hearts] creates a platform where people can get together and really open up.”
Whether participants were having fun playing games or splashing in the water at Watiki Indoor Waterpark Resort or chowing down at Sickies Garage Burgers and Brews, one thing remained constant: the laughing and smiling faces of the children
If you are interested in joining Camp T.L.C., follow their Facebook page or contact Caroline Baumis at 917-363-5154.