COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — Forty-five minutes northeast of Columbus sits a magical camp for children with serious illnesses.
Flying Horse Farms is a specialty medical camp in Mount Gilead, Ohio that enables children with a wide range of diagnoses to heal, grow and thrive. After the pandemic interrupted its operations for a few years, the camp is back in a big way with the goal to reach 1,000 campers.
“We are ready to be at full capacity with our full staffing model and have kids come for an entire week,” said Nichole Dunn, president and CEO of Flying Horse Farms. “We also have family weekends if (camp) seems very scary and you want to get to know our medical team or psychosocial team.”
Camp is provided at no cost to campers or their families. With 14 different programs, there are a wide range of options.
“We do the safety and the infrastructure, such as the medical, physical and psychosocial,” Dunn said. “Activities are amazing, but it’s what happens on the center path; It’s the conversations that you overhear, the whispers, the sharing of something super vulnerable. It says, ‘I’ve never said this out loud, and I feel safe enough to do so.'”
That is where the magic happens for Flying Horse Farms staff, volunteers and campers.
“If we could bottle that magic and sell it, if we could all just have that feeling of gold stars in a bottle,” said Dunn.
Conditions include those with heart conditions, cancer and bleeding disorders, gastrointestinal conditions, pulmonary conditions, arthritis, craniofacial anomalies and rare diseases, according to Flying Horse Farms’ website.