Camp Albrecht Acres impacting lives of people with special needs - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Camp Albrecht Acres impacting lives of people with special needs

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Jamie Flowers (far left) laughs with her counselor Aria Sarrett (second from left) Jamie Flowers (far left) laughs with her counselor Aria Sarrett (second from left)
DUBUQUE COUNTY (KWWL) -

For many kids, summertime means spending a week or two at camp, but Camp Albrecht Acres gives campers with special needs more than just a few fun days away from home.

Jamie Flowers is one of Camp Albrecht Acres' friendliest and most familiar faces.

"I just kissed her on the cheek!" Flowers exclaimed with a giggle, her right arm draped casually over the shoulders of her counselor Aria Sarrett.

Flowers is one of the 600 to 800 people with special needs served every year by this camp, which sits just outside Sherrill in Dubuque County.

"They just fit in," the camp's executive director Deb Rahe said. "They fit in and we understand them. We're not concerned about behaviors, we're not concerned about diets. We just cater to whatever their needs are, and I think they have a sense that this is their place. This is their special place to come."

Camp Albrecht Acres becomes a staple in many of these campers' lives. For example, Flowers is 32 years old and has been coming to the camp every year since she was 8.

In this accepting atmosphere, campers range in age from 5 years old to their 70s, and level of need varies, too.

"We have campers here that are in wheelchairs," Rahe said. "We have a lot of campers that are high-functioning and able to take part in all the activities that we have here."

It's a week of fun for campers and a summer of learning for counselors.

"It's just amazing, their ability to love people and to be open and honest," Sarrett said of the campers. "They taught me a lot about people in general and how to get along."

At Camp Albrecht Acres, every day is a celebration of everybody.

The camp has been serving people with special needs since the 1970s. On Thursday is one of the camp's biggest fundraisers, its annual golf outing in Peosta.

Rahe said the camp is always looking for volunteers. More information on that is on the camp's Website at http://albrechtacres.org/

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