Students return to Camp Courage
Almost one year after they were part of the inaugural class, three students from Franklin County will return this week to Camp Courage, which is a three-day camp for visually and/or hearing impaired children at Ivy Green, the birthplace of Helen Keller, in Tuscumbia.
9-year-old Christlin Hester, from Phil Campbell, will join 12-year-old Blaise Murray from Russellville and 7-year-old Kendall Palmer from Vina to participate in the camp.
All three students are profoundly deaf and hear sounds through the assistance of bilateral cochlear implants.
The purpose of the camp is to inspire the campers to use their abilities to overcome challenges and to make a difference in the lives of others, as Helen Keller did.
The three Franklin County children, along with their parents, will head to the three-day camp on Sept. 11 to enjoy activities that range from candle making, pottery, fishing on Pickwick Lake with the Muscle Shoals Trojan Bass Fishing and pro angler Timmy Horton, and viewing a live scene from the opening act of The Miracle Worker play.
The campers will also take a trip to Cypress Cove Farm in Red Bay where they will have a unique outdoor experience thanks to Rep. Johnny Mack Morrow and his wife, Martha, who own the property.
“These children are such an inspiration to me,” Morrow said.
“They bring joy to everyone around them, and I am honored to know them.
“This camp is a wonderful, inspiring event, not just for the campers, but for the parents and other participants as well.
“It was such a privilege for Martha and myself to be a part of the inaugural class of Camp Courage last year, and we are excited to be involved with the camp again this year.”
The camp is sponsored by the Helen Keller Birthplace Foundation and the American Optometric Association Foundation, in conjunction with the University of North Alabama and the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Students from UNA serve as counselors for the event.
“I think this was a really great experience, for the kids and for the parents,” said Michelle Murray, Blaise’s mother.
“You are able to meet all these people who are going through the same experiences or who have already had experiences and you develop this support system of people that you know you can talk to if you need to.”
Ashley Palmer, Kendall’s mother, said she hoped the first Camp Courage would inspire other visually and/or hearing impaired children to participate in the camp this year.
“I think everyone had a really great time, and we’re looking forward to going back,” she said.