Last year in the Dallas area, a woman was registering her child at the SEEK Camp for young people with special needs when another mother there to register her own child overheard her asking that her check be held until payday.
The second mother stepped up and paid for both. “There will never be another kid turned away from SEEK Camp who can’t afford it,” the second mother said later.
This is how SEEK Camp became a beneficiary of the Jordan Spieth Family Foundation. That second mother was Jordan’s mom, Christine, whose daughter, Ellie, has been a regular at the camp for several years.
SEEK is an acronym for Summer Events for Exceptional Kampers, and it is a non-denominational Christian camp on Lake Bridgeport, outside Dallas. The participants, who have varying degrees of disabilities, stay Tuesday through Saturday, and the ratio of volunteer counselors to participants is 1-to-1.
The campers work on arts and crafts; enjoy various recreational activities, including a daily swim after lunch; and attend a worship service every night. There are five sessions each summer: for young people ages 9 to 15, 15 to 18, 18 to 22, 22 and up living at home, and 22 and up living at residential centers.
“It not only changes the lives of the campers, being able to have the camping experience, but it changes the lives of the counselors,” Camper Director Chaney Cheatham says. “The staff is all volunteers. SEEK Camp is truly life-changing.”
Indeed, Chaney’s sister, Cory Cheatham-Corbin, activities and fundraising director, is a testament to that. “The first year I went there was 1991,” Cory says. “When I left, I cried all the way home.” When she got home, she says, she changed her college degree to Special Education.
The camp also provides the families of the campers with a welcome respite from the daily challenges of a special-needs child.
The Jordan Spieth Family Foundation has helped ease an annual fundraising burden “that has always been a stretch for us,” Cory Cheatham-Corbin says. “They’ve done wonders for the camp, and I think they just changed the course of our camp. With Jordan and his family stepping in, it has opened doors for us that wouldn’t have opened otherwise.”
Now the camp will be able to help with scholarships for young people whose families might otherwise not be able to afford it.
The Jordan Spieth Family Foundation is committed to providing assistance in three areas: special-needs youth, junior golf and veterans and military families.