“It’s just a loving, happy, safe, structured environment that these kids with special needs need,” said Marlene Sanchez. “They need to know what’s going on, when it’s going, where they’re going.
Sanchez became involved in the camp when she was just 11-years-old. The camp has had such an impact on her, that she’s been back every year.
“For 40 years I’ve been spending my summers here,” she said. “As I got older, I became a counselor. Then when Don Civitello, our founding father, was moving up in the ranks in the Special Ed Department, I took over for him.
Sanchez has been heading the department for 25 years now, doing his part to keep the philosophy of “giving every child the opportunity to have a typical camp experience” in tact.
The camp offers many clubs for its participants, including a cooking club and a Lego club.
Campers often stay at the camp for years, spending each summer there.
“They come to camp when they’re four and five and we watch them grow up to 12, 13-years-old or beyond.
Camp Happiness is looking to continue bringing kids joy for the next 50 years and beyond.
It will be holding its A Night for Happiness event on Aug. 12. Tickets for the fundraiser can be purchased through Facebook by following this link: https://www.facebook.com/events/263306877413750/