What Started as an Idea Continues to Grow After 50 Years
PHOENIX (December 28, 2017) – When a small group of dedicated volunteers had an idea to build an accessible residential summer camp for children and adults with physical and developmental disabilities becomes a reality it is sometimes hard to believe that that dream would last one year, let alone 50. As parents and volunteers, they were driven by the belief that everyone deserves the opportunity to experience the unique joy of summer camp – regardless of their abilities. “Camp Civitan” created one of the first year-round camping experiences in Arizona.
In 1968, the vision to create a summer experience of adventure for individuals who are often forgotten or shielded from the same adventures many families take for granted was started. Today, the 15-acre wheelchair accessible Camp Civitan in Williams, Arizona is one of the largest year-round camps of its kind in the nation and spawned additional programs and services for the developmentally disabled.
The Civitan Foundation, a non-profit 501 c (3) headquartered in Phoenix, grew from the experiences of Camp Civitan and is now a leading voice in Arizona in providing unmatched, innovative services to individuals with special needs. Serving nearly 1,200 children and adults with disabilities throughout Arizona, we’ve expanded our program to encompass educational and vocational activities. This expansion was to meet the direct needs of each one of our families and their loved ones.
In addition to Camp Civitan, the Foundation now includes other locations and services to provide job and life-skill training for members to grow independently, socialize with peers and practice self-sufficiency. The Civitan Village, located near 42nd Street and Cactus Road in Phoenix is a multi-disciplinary day program, vocational training site and employment center. Members at the village participate in daily programs which include the arts, culinary, yoga/movement, goals training, theater and media. The programs at the village are designed to promote creativity and help foster healthy, long-lasting relationships.
Flerish Design and Resale is Civitan’s thrift store on 12621-25 North Cave Creek Road. The store provides 70 paid shifts weekly for members learning all aspects of retail sales. Within the store we house our “Art Gallery” where members who have trained with a third-generation Arizonan artist are showing and selling their one of a kind fine art. Civitan also operates a boutique and resale store in Williams AZ, Civitan on 66, also providing the local members an employment opportunity.
The Respite Ranch, a home like setting on almost an acre, located near our main campus, provides the much-needed respite and reprieve from constant care-giving, or as a last minute option during times of critical need. This service is available 365 days a year.
In addition to the facilities offering training and work opportunities for the Civitan Foundation members, we also provide home and community based services. Our staff provide individualized services to families and caregivers of loved ones with special needs living at home. We also have day-training programs in Williams and Maricopa.
What drove the parents and volunteers to start a camp for the disabled 50 years ago is still the fire that drives us today. As Civitan moves forward, our goals are to continue exploring new opportunities to improve the quality of life for our members.
About Dawn Trapp:
After serving the organization for countless years in a volunteer capacity, in 2001 Dawn Trapp founded and was elected the first Executive Director of what is now known as the Civitan Foundation, Inc. Since that time, Dawn has transformed Civitan from a single-service, single-location volunteer organization to a multi-faceted enterprise which offers countless programs and services to individuals with developmental disabilities throughout the state of Arizona.