(originally published in 2011 in The North Texas Reporter)
Oak Grove United Methodist Church of Decatur recently participated in the thirteenth annual Sonflower Camp held at the Joe Wheeler Park pavilion each year. The camp, founded by Andrea Duwe of Greenwood, is one for children with disabilities ranging from mental to physical handicaps. This year’s camp was dedicated to Josh Houston and Ruby Wyatt, who passed away on Christmas Eve, 2010.
Over 200 persons participated in the 2011 camp on June 6, 7, 8. There were 90 campers and 110 helpers. Oak Grove and various other churches, civic organizations, and businesses provided food and snacks for the children during their three-day camping adventure, followed by a fun-filled celebration in the pool on the closing day.
Monday, June 6 was Firefighter Appreciation Day. The Decatur Fire Dept, Wise County EMS, Lifestar helicopter and Decatur Police Department participated in the event. Everyone who registered as a camper got a fireman’s hat and badge. Other stations on Monday included arts and crafts, games, music, Flower the Clown, a storyteller from the Library, a bounce house and the Decatur Lion’s Club which provided a train for the children to ride in.
Tuesday was Patriotic Day with activities such as arts and crafts, water games, music, a juggler, a ventriloquist, a balloon artist, as well as two favorite sports cars provided by a local dealership in Decatur. The campers got to sit behind the wheel, honk the horn, and have their pictures made in the top sports cars of the year.
Wednesday was Wild West Day at the Sonflower Camp. Everyone wore bandanas, cowboy hats and mustaches. Jessie (Devon Dawson) the Singing Cowgirl came with Wise County’s famous fiddle player Jess Meador to entertain the campers. There were more arts and crafts, games, a hayride with music, a petting zoo provided by a local pet store, along with other people who brought dogs, goats, sheep, chickens, miniature donkeys, mules, kittens, etc. The children could even paint on one of the paint horses!
On Friday, the campers celebrated another fun experience in water play at Fit-N-Wise Aquatic Center in Decatur. Everyone agreed that it was one of the most successful camps ever!