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Forming Friendships At Camp Dream Makers

July 20, 2011, 6:15 PM by Erich Schaffhauser

Forming Friendships At Camp Dream Makers
ABERDEEN, SD - If you remember back to your childhood camp days, you can probably think of many friends you made. You maybe even came home with a camp boyfriend or girlfriend.

It's no different for an Aberdeen camp set up for kids with disabilities.

"He's my boyfriend and I like him because we like each other for a long time," Jessica Rohrbach said about a boy in camp.

Rohrbach met her young “boyfriend” at Camp Dream Makers in Aberdeen.

In her 28 years helping with the camp, Gail Pickus has gained quite a few friends herself.

"And it's a delight to see them growing every year," Pickus said.

"I think it's fun meeting new friends, doing all the activities," camper Dustin Schmidt said. "It's great."

With nearly 60 kids spread out between two different sessions of camp there are dozens who make up the circle of friends there. And it doesn't take very long to become one of them.

ERICH SCHAFFHAUSER: What did you do when I walked in the door today?
JEREMY WAGEMANN: Hugged you.

And Wagemann is just one of many who'd do the same. Director Rose Kraft has a camp friend count in the hundreds by now. The chicken she wears on her head has even more.

"This year I didn't have the chicken hat on the first morning. And one of the kids came in and went, 'Hi,' walked past me, went to the toys. I put the chicken hat on; he came running back and gave me a big hug," Kraft said.

That’s created one memory between friends that'll last a long time, just as many of the friendships are apparently destined to as well.

"We're not breaking up. We're just getting married," Rohrbach said.

The camp has primary sponsors in the YMCA, United Way and Aberdeen Catholic Schools. But the director says the camp has made several friends in the community that make the event possible each year.

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