Tagged with: Camp WAMP Cerebral Palsy children El Capitan Steve Wampler summer camp Wampler Kids wheelchair
In September 2010, Steve Wampler became the first person with Cerebral Palsy to Climb El Captian in Yosemite National Park.
During this grueling experience, Wampler used a specialized wheelchair, drawing himself upward every 5 inches. It took him a year to train, teaching himself how to use a specific system of ropes and overcoming his fear of heights.
According to Wampler, “It was six days of just absolute torture and I would say awe-inspiring too”. The pure exhaustion of six to eight hours of constant pull-up after pull-up after pull-up and the bright sunshine and the heat. The whole adventure was, was just unbelievable.”
His aspiration for participation in outdoor activities began when Wampler was very young. As a child, he went to summer camp which opened his eyes to a variety of activities in which he could participate such as fishing, hiking, swimming, and sleeping under the stars. Upon meeting his wife, Elizabeth, he challenged her view of disability.
“When I met him, at first I thought, I bet he’s having a really hard life. He broke my heart, I thought people were probably mean to him, I thought he was sad every day—and I quickly learned that nothing could be further from the truth”.
Wampler is an inspiration to children with disabilities everywhere. His reason for making the climb is to fundraise for children with disabilities so they can attend summer camp.
“The message of the climb and the foundation that we have is to get kids with physical disabilities outside in the great outdoors and to learn that they can achieve whatever they want to”.
Ten years ago, when he found out that his childhood camp was closing, he and his wife set up Camp WAMP (Wheelchair Adventure Mountain Programs). “Wamplar Kids” is the name that camp participants are known by. Wampler believes “that kids with physical disabilities can do more than they can imagine if they put their mind to it.” Part of his goal for climbing the mountain is that people would learn more about the Steven J. Wampler Foundation. Part of Camp WAMP’s mission is that no child would have to pay for attending. For more information about the Wampler Foundation or to donate so that a child can have an experience of a lifetime, please visit http://www.wamplerfoundation.org/.
To see how this camp has changed the lives of the children that have the opportunity to attend watch the video below.