A Year Ago Today

A dream you dream alone is only a dream. A dream you dream together is reality.John Lennon

It was this day one year ago that Toni (our board chairwoman), Joseph (husband), and I walked through 70 acres in Jackson County.

It all started with a phone call from Josh, the property’s owner and camp director of Camp Wellspring. Josh and his family had laid the foundation of a camp for kids with disabilities called Camp Wellspring. He and his family were faithfully moving on to their next big adventure to become missionaries. He told us about the property and their desire to see it used in the future for and with the families that they served.

My first thought- NO WAY.

We were in the middle of a soon-to-be building project in Watkinsville. How could we take on 70 acres of camp land? But as a courtesy, we decided to go for a quick visit. It was only a few short minutes walking by the pond and sitting on the rocking chair of the front porch that we all looked at each other and thought, how can we not?”

There’s something quant, something right, something perfect about these 70 acres. There’s nothing flashy or fancy about the property: it’s just… camp. Much like the camp I grew up attending or the camps many of us look back on with fond memories.






It was the next day that I hopped on a plane to visit dear friends, the Strickland Family, a family who believes in the mission of ESP and who believes that we should give the best to children with disabilities. Thanks to this day one year ago and that sweet visit, they gave us the vision to dream about our own future camp home, move forward on purchasing the 70 acres we now have today and have hope for a future home at the now named Camp Hooray.


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About The Author

Laura Whitaker

Laura Whitaker, M. Ed., began her relationship with Extra Special People, Inc. by working as a counselor and, subsequently, a leadership team member in 2003. With her passion for enhancing the lives of children with developmental disabilities and her specialized education in this field, Laura was selected as the director after the founder, Martha Wyllie’s sudden passing in 2004. She has found her dream job with ESP (or her dream job found her!). As Executive Director, Laura uses her leadership and management strengths to manage staff, oversee multiple year-round programs and raise funds to run programs. Her favorite part of the job is getting to hug the many children who walk through the ESP doors.

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