Local Camp Helps Kids Affected by HIV

Camp Cactus President Kip Green
Camp Cactus President Kip Green

It's one of the only camps like it in America... And it's right here in Amarillo. Camp Cactus is a four day summer camp held every year that helps children who have been affected by HIV... and it's free for every camper.

Meet the kids at Camp Cactus... LaCharles Curtis says, "I like the counselors" Brieanna Cortez says, "Every year you have more fun. Each year it gets better and better and better." Keishawn Ward says, "They love me. They play with us. They take us fun places."

For those kids and twelve other area children, these next few days are all about fun and games... An escape of sorts from the challenges of their daily lives.

Camp Cactus President Kip Green says, " It serves kids ages six through twelve who are affected by the HIV virus. Either the kid has the virus or someone in their family, like the caretaker, has the disease."

Tanner Ambs is a camp counselor. He says, "We don't really talk about what happens at home. We're just here to provide something for them that they don't have at home. We'll take them to Splash and Wonderland."

Rebecca England was a camper several years ago, and liked it so much she decided to come back as a counselor. "Just help them out like they helped me out. Just helping them to know that everything will be okay."

Which is exactly what keeps campers like Brieanna Cortez coming back year after year. She says, "They're always gonna be there for you. You don't have to worry about anything. They're practically like family."

Many of the campers come from under-privileged families, so part of their camping experience includes getting a new pair of school shoes and a backpack full of school supplies.

The camp is entirely funded by community donations... Despite the tough economy, this year they raised $10,000.