Camper Spotlight – Meet the Vaden Family
Life hasn’t always been easy for the Vaden Family of nine. W. Vaden (father), a marine veteran, has been living with PTSD and an injured ankle from his days in the military. Although their seven kids didn’t grow up in a military life, all the kids learned about their dad serving in the military. They also learned to help their dad cope and overcome situations when experiencing PTSD or anxiety, a skill worth learning.
The Vaden kids have always wanted to go to camp, seeing camp ads and in movies where camp looked so much fun for kids to experience. It wasn’t until, the Vaden family learned about Camp Loma Mar from another family at dinner where they talked about Camp Corral, a nonprofit that transforms the lives of children of wounded, ill, and fallen military heroes by providing camp, advocacy, and enrichment programs. Camp Loma Mar and Camp Corral have partnered this year and in years past, to provide camp experiences for children of military families.
After much research on camps, C. Vaden (mother) was blown away with what she learned about Camp Loma Mar had to offer for kids. She contacted, Ryan James, Executive Director of Camping, to learn more about camp and to seek financial assistance to send five of her kids to camp. “I was excited about sending my kids to camp. Especially with COVID-19, I was so happy for my kids to be ‘typical kids’ and to relax and enjoy being young,” said Mrs. Vaden. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic during these last two and half years, changed the lives of so many families especially kids from low-income communities where kids were unable to connect with friends, socialize, and attend school, only virtually for distance-learning. It didn’t leave a lot of options for parents to allow their kids to be a kid, until now as we slowly emerge from the pandemic.
“With a family of 9 it just wasn’t really possible to send all my kids to camp. How do you pick one or two to send and not all of my children? If it wasn’t for camperships, I wouldn’t have been able to send my kids to camp. The kids learned so much from camp. I love the self-confidence my kids came back with. The smiles on their faces when they talked about the friends they made and even counselors, including people they met from other states and other countries,” Mrs. Vaden added. Mr. James said, “Camperships are the reason we can help families send their kids to camp. We thank our donors who lend their support to the Send A Kid to Camp campaign. Thank you for allowing families, like the Vaden Family to experience Camp Loma Mar.”
The Vaden kids can’t wait to come back to Camp Loma Mar.