2000 Aldersgate Road


A Journey of Trust

By Brooke Wilson, Director of Communications

Oftentimes we see parents of children with special needs who are hesitant to drop off their child for a week or weekend of camp. No one can know as much about their child as they do, and with all the medications, accommodations and other things to consider, leaving their child at camp can be a scary thing. For Cindy Pye, this was what she experienced with her two children. But after Cindy and her husband Brady saw Camp Aldersgate’s program first-hand, he said to her, “I think we can trust these people.”

Cindy with her husband Brady and two children, Timothy and Brianna

Cindy is mom to Timothy, age 17, and Brianna, age 12. Timothy has diagnoses of severe developmental delay, seizure disorder and autism. He is non-verbal and uses a wheelchair. Brianna has moderate to persistent asthma and bipolar disorder. Cindy had heard about Camp Aldersgate through her work as a nurse at Arkansas Children’s Hospital from coworkers who had been involved. “I never could pull the trigger to send Timothy because when you have a disabled child, it’s hard to trust anybody. To leave them without one of us there is kind of scary for us.”

However, this past summer in 2021, Cindy was asked to be a camp nurse at Aldersgate. She said this would be the perfect opportunity to see if she would be comfortable sending her children, especially Timothy. “I had never worked as a camp nurse before. I didn’t know what to expect, but I fell in love with some of those kids, and I fell in love with the camp…I fell in love with what they did. I could see how caring the counselors were and how they took care of those kids like they were their own brother or sister or best friend.”

Timothy at Weekend Camp

After consulting with Brady, they decided to send their children to a weekend camp with Cindy as the camp nurse in October 2021. Cindy was especially impressed with the counselors and the way they treated Timothy. “Even at school, we have to get onto them sometimes and say ‘get him out of the wheelchair. Do things with him. Don’t just leave him in the wheelchair and walk away. And nobody at camp does that. Even if he’s sitting in the wheelchair, they’re right there beside him.”

After attending a few months of weekend camps, Cindy and Brady have decided to send both kids to camp at the next in-person residential program, without Cindy there as camp nurse. “We trust everybody now, and even though it’s hard to let go, we are going to let them go by themselves, and we are going to go out somewhere.”

Cindy encourages hesitant parents to trust Camp Aldersgate with their children because it’s not your average camp. “At a normal camp, Timothy would just have to sit there and watch because they’re not equipped to handle disabled kids like him, but at Camp Aldersgate he can pretty much do any of the activities because they are equipped to handle kids that are just like him. They have all the equipment, experience, and training to let them participate and have fun. This makes a difference for us as parents that makes us feel comfortable.”

Camp Aldersgate is a non-profit organization and relies on donations to keep its programs running for children like Timothy and Brianna. When asked why people should donate to Camp, Cindy said, “Unfortunately it takes money to do camp…It takes money as a nurse to take care of these kids. It takes money to keep the air and heat on. It takes money to do this day in and day out. If you want to give to a wonderful cause that is definitely for the children of Arkansas, then this is a great place to give money or supplies. We have to have the donations to keep us running.”

Cindy and her family look forward to continuing being a part of Camp Aldersgate and making life-long friendships. Cindy says that Camp has truly made an impact on her family and others in our community. “I did not realize until I got involved this past summer how much of a difference Camp Aldersgate makes for these children. It’s amazing.”

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