ESP is the legacy of one woman who had a passion for children and young people with special needs, and a vision of a place where they and their families could focus on their abilities instead of their disabilities. Martha Wyllie founded ESP in 1986 offering a high-quality affordable camp for “people with different abilities.” Twenty-one children enrolled in that first summer camp and by 2004 ESP was serving 100 campers with a budget of $150,000 in a small facility where children could be served on-site. Martha was diagnosed with cancer in the summer of that year and passed away that fall. The year following Martha’s death, ESP Summer Camp was in danger of being eliminated because of lack of funding. When a young camp counselor and leadership team member, Laura Whitaker, heard this, she pulled together the families and made a call to the community to save camp in just a matter of months. The founder’s family appointed Laura as the new Executive Director in January of 2006.
Since becoming Executive Director, Laura has led ESP to expanded programming, and the organization now serves more young people than ever before. ESP runs weekend and after-school programs, family support programs, and events in addition to summer camp. After a 3 year capital campaign, ESP opened the doors on a 14,000 sq. ft. facility in Watkinsville in June of 2016. Everyday, ESP continues to provide a safe place that individuals with disabilities can call their own. Through the magic that ESP creates kids, young adults, families, volunteers, donors and staff are changed!
ESP serves individuals with behavior disorders, Cerebral Palsy, Down Syndrome, Autism, Asperger’s, Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, Angelman Syndrome, Spina Bifida, and many more.
No child with a disability is turned away from ESP.
served in the summer of 2016
individuals come from + 2 states
identified in Northeast Georgia who could be served by ESP
While ESP is serving more individuals than ever, we are committed to keeping the costs of programs the same, alleviating some of the burden on our families.