Gator Wilderness Camp School
44930 Farabee Road
Punta Gorda, Florida 33982
"Help Yourself...Help Others."
"I long to dwell in your tent forever and take
refuge in the shelter of your wings.” Psalm 61:4
At Gator Boys Camp we recognize that healthy, growing relationships require hard work and effort from each person involved. Our society today provides few good examples of “healthy”, nurturing relationships. Despite all of the communication technology available today many in our country continue to suffer acutely with profound loneliness.
It is the goal of each member of the staff team to place a high priority on partnering with campers to (1) develop the desire to believe he can experience success and satisfaction in relationships, and (2) the skill set to achieve these hopes and dreams. Campers are challenged to grow in a relationship with Jesus Christ, parents, peers, and others.
Healthy relationships are extremely satisfying and worthwhile bringing “spice and meaning” to life, it is our desire to see this aspiration met in the lives of campers and their families.
Structure at camp provides the framework for teaching the right way in contrast to the wrong way of completing daily living requirements. Campers are taught to make their bed and clean their living structure and campsite daily.
Twice weekly the boys have their dirty clothes laundered by staff after which each boy is responsible to fold his clean clothes and place them neatly in his foot locker. Many of the structures around camp concern the “preservation and care” of our natural surroundings.
Lastly, campers are taught the value of transferring the concept of camp structures to important structures of home, school, and the community.
At camp we know that most successes come with a great effort and effective planning. Groups at camp are required to develop long and short term goals in conjunction with their treatment plans. Long term goals may include ideas the group is dreaming about the next several months. For example, a multiple day canoe trip through the Everglades or the drafting of a new tent designed to be built in campsite. To accomplish these goals successfully the group must learn to function as a team as they seek to solve problems that may arise along the way.
Short term goals: Each week the group discusses and writes out a very specific set of plans based upon the group’s needs for the coming week. Specific goals and objectives must co-inside with the group’s long term goals. As a camper participates in this planning process he begins to understand that effective planning goes far beyond an impulsive idea or a “my way first” attitude. Instead good planning is rooted in clear plans with specific targets and goals at the forefront.
When a group learns to internalize the planning process a deep sense of accomplishment and confidence replaces the “cycle of failure” our campers have often experienced in the past.
Open Under New Management
Gator Wilderness Camp School Receives 2009 Best of Punta Gorda Award
U.S. Commerce Association’s Award Plaque Honors the Achievement
WASHINGTON D.C., June 8, 2009 -- Gator Wilderness Camp School has been selected for the 2009 Best of Punta Gorda Award in the Rehabilitation Services category by the U.S. Commerce Association (USCA).
The USCA "Best of Local Business" Award Program recognizes outstanding local businesses throughout the country. Each year, the USCA identifies companies that they believe have achieved exceptional marketing success in their local community and business category. These are local companies that enhance the positive image of small business through service to their customers and community.
Various sources of information were gathered and analyzed to choose the winners in each category. The 2009 USCA Award Program focused on quality, not quantity. Winners are determined based on the information gathered both internally by the USCA and data provided by third parties.
LETTER FROM BOARD PRESIDENT GLEN BYLER
“Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good! His faithful love endures forever.” Psalm 118:1
At Gator Wilderness Camp School we know God is faithful; we’ve experienced his enduring love again this year. Gator Camp re-opened on September 8, 2009 with a five new staff members and one camper. By July 1, 2010 the camp had grown to include twelve staff members, thirteen campers, with additional families and boys waiting to be enrolled. Boys and their families are finding a place of safety and healing at Gator Wilderness Camp School, and we, as Board of Directors, give praise to our gracious God for all he has brought to pass here.
Another praise we give to God is for the recently completed staff house on the property at Gator Camp. This new building will house the director and his family and several chiefs. It’s humbling to see how God works through his people to bring about his purposes, and it’s such a privilege to be part of his plan.
I thank God, too, for the dedicated staff that He blessed us with and for all the volunteers that have blessed us with their time and talents.
On a more personal note, it truly is a blessing and a privilege to be a part of Gator Wilderness Camp School and to be able to see the difference it makes in the lives of these young boys and their families. To see the way that God supplies our needs on a day to day basis is a real blessing. Gator Camp truly is the work of God and we are but his hands and feet.
Pray that we sense God's leading for the future and that we continue to make a difference in the lives of boys and their families. Gator Wilderness Camp School has definitely made a difference in my life and I hope it is a blessing to you.
Thank you for supporting boys and their families through your prayers and your gifts of time and money. None of the work here at Gator Camp could have come to fruition without the Lord and his people who have responded to his call.
Gator Wilderness Camp School Approved for McKay Scholarships and Florida Tax Credit Scholarships
PUNTA GORDA – Gator Wilderness Camp School recently received approved from the Florida Department of Education to participate in the McKay Scholarship Program and the Florida Tax Credit Corporate scholarships. These successful funding options for families are part of the Office of the Independent Education and Parental Choice’s plan to increase the quantity and improve the quality of educational for Florida’s students.
Gator Wilderness Camp School is a private, non-profit year-round camping program designed specifically to serve adolescent boys from the ages of 8-16 years old. This group of boys is struggling significantly to interpret a myriad of issues in their families, schools, and communities. For more information about the camp, please call the office at (941) 639-7722 or click on www.gatorwildernesscamp.com
A MOTHER’S TESTIMONIAL...
"My son, Zech, is a camper at Gator Wilderness Camp School. Zech and I have been going through programs since he was three years old...He was in and out of programs until September, 2009, when I learned about Gator Camp. After six months at camp, my son had developed empathy for others for the first time in his life, his printing and handwriting had improved…, and there is peace in my son for the first time in his life…I’m grateful to God and to Gator Wilderness Camp School."
From a Camper’s Mother...
When Joseph was a newborn, he never needed a whole lot of sleep. Joseph was always very hyper. For example, when I would go grocery shopping with him, I always had to keep an eye on him so he wouldn’t jump out of the grocery cart. There were lots of times when I just wanted to stay home because Joey was always hyper.
At the age of seven years old, the teachers started complaining because Joey would not hold still in his desk while he was doing his work. So one day, the teacher came to talk to me to see if I would take him to the doctor and the doctor said he has a high score of ADHD and put him on medication. So Joey took one pill in the morning and one at night. At the age of 10 ½ the medication wasn’t helping any more.
The year of 2008 was a very hard year. Joey started with anxiety. By 2009, that whole school year, Joseph got real bad anxiety, and the school would mostly call me every day to come pick Joey up. I would have to leave work to come pick him up because he was having bad anxiety at school and when he was at home he would pace the floor back and forth. He could not hold still at all. He was back and forth to the hospital…..By the first week of August, I did not know what to do anymore…I did not know what Joseph’s reaction was going to be when I told him he was going to Gator Camp. He looked at me and said, “Mom, I’m ready. “ So we signed him up for Gator Camp on September 9th of 2009.
The rules at Gator Camp are that Joseph can come home every 6-7 weeks from Friday to Tuesday. Then he would have to go back to Gator Camp. NO phone calls. We wouldn’t see a change in him right away. In about five months we noticed a difference in Joey. He didn’t pace the floors anymore. He sat still. He is VERY calm. After six months, they took him off the Geodon.
The last seven months I could NOT get over how calm he has been. He has a change of heart. He has a great personality…I love to pick him up when it’s home visit. He is always overjoyed and happy to see his family. On the way home, he gets out his blue song book and starts praising the Lord! I just want to thank Gator Camp for how they stepped and made a HUGE difference in Joseph’s life. I did a lot of crying and praying and God answered my prayers!
Gator Wilderness Camp School Hires Second Supervisor
Punta Gorda, Florida-July 11, 2011-Gator Wilderness Camp School announced today the recent hiring of a second supervisor at its residential wilderness camp school.
David Helmuth, Plain City Ohio, comes to Gator Wilderness Camp School with experience in wilderness camping after serving as a chief for several years at the Fair Play Wilderness Camp School, Fair Play, South Carolina.
Dave and his wife, Aimee, are parents of two sons. They look forward to working with the boys and staff at Gator Camp. Dave shared the following testimonial recently:
“’The LORD will guide you always; He will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail. Isaiah 58:11.’ This verse has been a big encouragement to my family and me. I am so thankful for a God who walks beside us when we take big steps in our lives. Sometimes it feels like we are jumping off a cliff and just free falling; but I am thankful we serve a God is always there to catch us before we hit bottom. The important thing isn’t being careful how far we jump, but rather, making certain we take God with us when we jump.”
Gator Wilderness Camp School is a year-round residential wilderness program for troubled boys ages 10-15 years located in southwest Florida.
44930 Farabee Road
Punta Gorda, FL 33982
Phone: (941) 639-7722