Camp Rancho Framasa: An Inclusive Summer Camp

By Andie Gunter

A Place of All

Camp Rancho Framasa is a summer camp owned by the Archdiocese of Indianapolis and run by the Catholic Youth Organization. This 296-acre camp is located in the wooded hills of Nashville Indiana. It has been operating since 1946. The camp’s mission is to enhance the emotional and spiritual development of youth and adults through outdoor programs.

A distinctive feature of Camp Rancho Framasa is that it is inclusive. Campers of all abilities participate in typical summer camp activities together. The camp offers programs for adults and older teens with disabilities such as Down syndrome, communication disorders, Autism or cognitive delays. The camp is able to do this by offering additional staff support or facility adaptations as needed.

The Adult Recreation Camp is a six-day/five-night camp for adults with disabilities. Participants engage in a similar schedule to youth campers, including many of the same activities. The adult camp has eight campers per session, and two sessions are offered during the summer.

The Ranch Hands program is for teens ages 16-19 and lasts three or six days. The Ranch Hands program includes three elements: leadership/training opportunities, meaningful tasks and recreational activities. Each camper has a mentor counselor to help guide them through the day and to do activities alongside him or her. An individualized schedule is created for each camper, depending on their needs. There are spots for two teens to participate in each Ranch Hands session, and there are nine sessions offered throughout the summer.

Angi Sullivan, Director of Assessment, Communication and Leadership, says some of the favorite activities of campers include swimming and a high ropes course which includes a giant swing. Mary, a long-time participant at camp, said, "I like Mass at the end of the week and Taco Tuesday and campfire."

Camp Rancho Framasa offers a three-tiered pricing system, so families who need to can pay a subsidized rate. The camp is a member of the American Camp Association and camp staff are trained in program quality and health and safety issues.

The camp facility includes a swimming pool, a pond for kayaking and canoeing, an amphitheater where Mass is celebrated and an outdoor programming center which includes the dining hall. Cabins at the camp are named after Saints, and each one includes a bathroom and showers. The camp provides a variety of other summer camp opportunities as well as family camps, school-year programming, retreats and facility rentals.

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