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7 News Spotlight: Camp Happiness in Barker

The volunteer-run summer camp hosts nearly 150 children and adults with developmental disabilities for a week each summer.
Posted at 6:23 PM, Jun 22, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-22 18:23:17-04

BARKER, N.Y. (WKBW)  — Camp Happiness in Barker is all about smiles - and there's a lot of them.

"Our goal is to see thousands of smiles. To make these children and adults feel like they are in summer camp just like everyone else. It's amazing to watch," said Wes Pickreign, the Chairman of the Board for the Camp.

The camp, located at Camp Kenan, the YMCA facility in Barker, hosts nearly 150 children and adults who have an array of developmental disabilities each summer.

"When these campers walk into camp - we shower them in love ... and you can see how it changes them," said Pickreign.

The camp features a number of volunteers from across Western New York and Niagara County, as well as YMCA employees and a number of employees of the Lockport Elks Lodge #41.

"We are all in this together .. doing everything we can to help," said Pickreign.

Camp Happiness, thanks to the YMCA and Camp Kenan's facilities, have access to a number of activities. Those include, but are not limited too:

  • Rock Climbing
  • Archery
  • Arts & Crafts
  • Horticulture
  • Aquatics (both pool-based and open-water)
  • Bounce Castle / Trampolining
  • Musical instruments
  • Organized sports

"This is everything under the sun for these guys," said Pickreign.

Camp Happiness is only one week only, and is not accepting drop-ins or new additions for its summer 2022.

If you would like to become a camper or volunteer for the summer of 2023 - please reach out via the Camp Happiness website.