Slapped Upside The Head

I could call it a small world.  I could call it the truth of the theory of seven degrees of separation.  Or I could call it a coincidence.    But Saturday I got smacked right upside the head with all of the above.

We had a class for special needs kids at Camp Aldersgate yesterday.  Mr. Jordan conducted the class while I took pictures.  Chase showed up with his mom Leslie and his sister Lacy.  The class was great, of course, the kids, counselors and even a few Camp Aldersgate Board members seemed to have a great time.

Tommy Howard, the Weekend Camping Coordinator offered to take us on a tour.  We had the choice of walking or taking a ride in one of the golf carts.  We elected to walk, it was a beautiful day and it gave us an opportunity to get a little exercise in.  What kind of martial artist would ride in a cart rather than use their feet, right?

What a beautiful facility!  Located just off Kanis Road, the camp is spread out over 120 acres.  Open year round, Camp Aldersgate is an ACA Accredited camp for children with disabilities, developmental delays and medical conditions including autism, cardiac conditions, muscular dystrophy, spina bifida, cerebral palsy, arthritis, cancer, epilepsy, asthma, kidney disorders and diabetes.

As we walked down the paths and Tommy pointed out buildings and described the mission of the camp, I started to see similarities in the buildings at the camp and the structures I had just toured the week before while in Greensboro on our UBBT trip.

The 12,000 square foot Commons Building received the first LEED Gold green building certification in the state, and is also one of only three buildings in Arkansas certified by the US Green Building Council.

 New cabins especially equipped to house children with wheelchairs were pointed out.  They reminded me of the house we built for Mr. Jabbo last week.  I mentioned this, and proceeded to tell him about the experience.  When I mentioned Sam Mockbee, Tommy said “Yes, I know about him and the Rural Studio.  He’s been here.”

Sam Mockbee visited Camp Aldersgate right after he was diagnosed with cancer. His visit happened to coincide with a camp for children with cancer. He liked what he saw.   I’m not sure exactly how it all worked, but his influence reached out to the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville, and many of the new structures at Camp Aldersgate follow the Mockbee theory of design.

How cool is that!  Sam Mockbee in Little Rock!

Two weeks earlier, without the life changing experience of The Alabama Project, I would not have seen the similarities of design.  Two months earlier I would not have known who Sam Mockbee was.  Six months earlier I would not have known, or cared, about a LEED Gold certification. 

So thank you Coach Tom Callos for enlightening me on Sam Mockbee and his influence on Hale County, and opening a door for me to discover something really awesome in my own hometown.

When the student is ready the teacher will come.

One Comment on “Slapped Upside The Head

  1. I’m always struck when MA is taken to “special” populations but I shouldn’t be as there are, in my experience, a lot of persons we think of as less able who bring more guts and willpower to the table than a truckload of “normal” folks.

    And, after all, we almost all of us have something amiss with our bodies or our minds or we will, before it’s all said and done.

    I worked at Camp Aldersgate as a teenager and it was a life altering experience, part of the reason I came back to non-profit work many years later.

    Thanks for sharing your experience.



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