Stephen J. Wampler Foundation
The Stephen J. Wampler Foundation, or Camp Wamp, is a non-profit providing outdoor education programs for children with physical limitations. Camp WAMP has been providing life-changing outdoor education opportunities for disabled kids. The ages range is 10-18 with physical disabilities/limitations. The foundation started in 2002.
The children that attend Camp WAMP, enjoy a sleep-away week of camping under the stars. Outdoor activities include fishing, canoeing, singing around the camp fire, hiking, making new friends, participating in “survival challenges”. Being part of a team, is part of enjoying the fantastic fun and adventures that the wilderness of the high Sierra’s offer. Nature is our living classroom and the more kids are exposed to it in life the more they appreciate the natural environment. One of the main teachings during their week is the “leave no trace” motto and how nature is effected by humans.
Disabled children often are wanting to experience the great outdoors like their able bodied peers. Through foundation funding from grants, private donations and corporations, Camp WAMP provides an experience like every other able bodied child. The Wampler Foundation introduces the outdoors of the high Sierra’s to a population that is other wise left out. The outdoor education that is provided is partly based on the boy scouts, wilderness survival courses and the Sierra club’s conservation of nature.
The foundation making the high Sierra’s accessible to all disabled kids. Opening are new facility in 2017! We will welcome groups throughout the world. We want kids with disabilities to experience the great outdoors with accessibility to the three acre lake an 96 ares of remote, rugged wilderness. All kids will be able to fish, swim, singing songs, sleep under the stars and learn about their natural surroundings while in a safe, nurturing environment.
You can watch Camp WAMP on Youtube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RZhubqm-6Rs
A Message from Steve
One of the first things you’ll notice about me visually is that I’m in a wheelchair, and have Cerebral Palsy. Then you’ll get to know me as a person, and you’ll see how little CP defines who I am. Over the years, I’ve learned to not only live with my disability, but to thrive, and I want to ensure that others have the same opportunity.
I started the Wampler Foundation in 2002 with my incredible wife Elizabeth so that children with disabilities could be active participants in programs and activities that are centered around the great outdoors. We have since enabled thousands of kids with physical disabilities and often economic limitations to experience the joys and camaraderie of programs that push each child to discover how capable they really are and to expect a big life ahead.
I soon realized that we were only getting started. We have big plans to expand our youth programs nationwide and internationally, in order to help more kids lead full and ambitious lives, despite physical obstacles. I knew I needed to do something to show what I could do, as a role model to others with disabilities, as well as to raise awareness for our efforts.
The history of Camp Wamp (Wampler Foundation)
Steve Wampler was born with Cerebral Palsy, and a great attitude. He was born to great parents who taught him that while his disability was permanent, he owed it to himself to charge on, and have a great life with goals and expectations for himself.
When he was 9, his parents sent him to a wilderness summer camp in the high Sierras of California. The land was owned by a state senator named John Nejedly. Senator Nejedly bought the camp so that kids with physical disabilities could enjoy the challenges of the great outdoors.
The camp became (and remains) Steve’s favorite place on earth. During the 9 summers he went to the camp, some of who are Senator John Nejedly, “may he rest in peace now” camp counselor Dave Clahan as well as the former Camp Director, Lori Hom.
Steve attended the camp for 9 summers until he aged out and went off to college (UC Davis, Environmental Engineering). He graduated, and three years later met and married his wife, Elizabeth. Four years after that, they welcomed their first child, Charlotte, followed a year later by son, Joseph.
Steve was now a family man and an Environemtal Engineer, but he couldn’t ignore the thought of reopening the camp that he had attended. It had closed down a few years earlier, and Steve decided he wanted to reopen it so kids like him could attend as he had.
Steve slowly started raising money, and to his great surprise, he got overwhelming support in the form of mass donations from the people in town (Coronado, CA) as well as friends from the bay area of San Francisco.
For many summers now, they have come back to the camp they loved so much, this time, as then, helping and working hard to give the kids of Camp Wamp the experience Steve had as a kid. The place that changed his life forever, and allowed him to see that he could make a big life for himself.
Today the Nejedly and Wampler children are tight friends, and there has been more than one conversation about what may come of future generations at this special camp.
DONATE for disabled children’s programs
Donations come in to the Wampler Foundation in all different dollar amounts. We get donations ranging from $1, $50,000 and up! All donations are vital to building our programs for disabled children. We are are forever grateful to each one of you for your unique contribution. These outdoor education programs would not be possible without people like you. Making donations, helps children’s dreams come true!
Steve Wampler, Founder