Summer camp for kids with Down syndrome in need of volunteers

WILKES COUNTY, N.C. — A North Carolina summer camp specializing in inclusivity is having to make some tough calls before their session begins.

Camp Horizon -- an overnight camp for kids with Down syndrome in Wilkes County -- is battling a volunteer shortage that may keep some kids away.

“To my knowledge, we have never had to turn away a camper, so we are faced with a waitlist for the first time this year, which sucks,” said Kate Walters, co-director of Camp Horizon. “There is no better way to put it, it sucks. ... So, we are hoping we can get a couple of more (volunteers) in the next couple of days.”

The entirely volunteer based program pairs campers with counselors. Without enough staff, there can’t be as many campers.

No experience is necessary, campers say all you’ll need is an open heart.

“I think I would tell them just be yourself, be who you are and even change the way that you feel and share your emotions with everyone in the world,” said Sophia Wood, a 16-year-old eager to get back to Camp Horizon.

>>> In the video at the top of this page, Channel 9 reporter Hannah Goetz shares the special impact of Camp Horizon for people with Down syndrome and how you can help ensure everyone can attend.

Camp Horizon begins next week. People interested in volunteering at Camp Horizon can register here or find more details on the Down Syndrome Association of Greater Charlotte’s Facebook page.

(WATCH BELOW: Panthers tight end joins lifelong friend who lives with Down syndrome for ‘Best Buddies’ walk)