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Timbertop Camp turns week of summer into lifelong difference for kids

NELSONVILLE, Wis. (WSAW) — Summer camps are a fun way for kids to enjoy their summer vacation. But for kids with learning disabilities, fitting in isn’t always easy. One summer camp in central Wisconsin has been helping those kinds of children for 50 years.

Nestled in some Portage County woods in Nelsonville at the YMCA’s Camp Glacier Hollow lies a special kind of summer camp. Co-founder Rhoda Brooks said it started 50 years ago when her nephew had trouble fitting in at other camps.

“He said ‘There’s no camp for me!’ And so my husband said, ‘We’ll start a camp for you Mark, we’ll start a camp for you,'” Brooks explained.

Since that very first year, Timbertop Camp has become a Midwest summer tradition for many kids who have a harder time learning than their peers.

“They have issues they can’t deal with, emotional, behavioral, kind of camping, making friends, social skills,” Brooks explained.

On the surface, Timbertop looks like any other summer camp in Wisconsin, and offers your typical summer camp fun for kids.

“We normally do archery, Ga-Ga, we do swimming, we do boating, and we do a lot of other stuff,” 13-year-old Mikayla Koskey, a 3-year Timbertop camper, explained.

But what counselors are teaching the kids is anything but typical — as they help kids focus less on their disabilities and more on their abilities instead.

“They’re getting special help and so that’s what we’re having here at camp,” Brooks said. “We work on social skills, self image, self improvement.”

“I learned how to be stronger, and not fearful at all. And great, and powerful,” Koskey explained.

“It was awesome to see the bond they brought together by the end of the…

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