The Foundation for Dreams, Inc. is a non-profit organization whose mission is to build and operate the Dream Oaks s.w.a.m.p. (special wishes and magical play) Camp for special needs children. The program will provide day camps, residential camps and specialized programs designed to serve children ages 7-18, who are chronically ill, mentally and physically challenged and those who are considered at-risk. Each week of the day and residential camp operations will serve children with a specific illness or disability. All programs and activities will be geared toward meeting and challenging the abilities of each attending group. This will be accomplished by offering specialized programs such as swimming, horseback riding, outdoor education, arts and crafts, music therapy, archery, canoeing, fishing, sports and games, talent shows, campfires, bereavement therapy, and many, many more. The camp is located in beautiful Manatee County Florida, 40 miles south of Tampa and 120 miles west of Orlando on Florida's Gulf Coast.
The Foundation for Dreams was started by my father almost 6 years ago when he partially retired after a heart transplant. He began working toward achieving a goal set since the first time he learned that there are no children's camps established for handicapped and terminally ill children. After 3 years he saw some light and took it on full time. My father has left practicing law and spent many hours of his own free time to work day and night towards making this dream a reality. "Dream Oaks Camp" has started its first summer this past June 2001 and will run through the end of July. The camp site area was donated by the Boy Scouts of America and is a tremendous piece of land sitting directly on the Manatee River in Manatee county. Absolutely a tremendous site! My father has generated enough donations this year that they have already broken ground on cabins for the kids, new pool facility, new infirmary, etc., and there are 12+ counselors on full-time volunteer staff. I can go on forever about the camp. There are already many new wonderful experiences happening for these children and I always am trying (while going to school full time and working 30 hours a week, uugghh!) to contribute towards the camp. I spent the 4th of July out at the camp and it truly is a humbling experience! -- J.M.