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Meet Pat Sorrells

Today we’d like to introduce you to Pat Sorrells.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I’m Pat Sorrells and have served as president and CEO of Camp For All, being responsible for overseeing all aspects of camp operations and moving the organization forward for the past 12 years. Prior to joining Camp For All I was the Executive Director at The Periwinkle Foundation, who partners and attends camp at Camp For All every year. So I have been familiar with Camp For All and their mission for many, many years.

Camp For All is a unique, barrier-free camp working with other not-for-profit organizations to enrich the lives of children and adults with special needs and challenging illnesses and their families throughout the year.

In 1993, our founders, two doctors and a father of a child with cancer, had a dream to build a place where people with challenging illnesses or special needs could go to get away from a hospital setting for a bit, have fun and find joy. By 1998, this dream became reality and Camp For All opened. What they found was that not only was this a place that was able to provide fun to all, but allowed for growth in self-confidence, hope for the future, a realization that regardless of the challenge, one is not alone and overall emotional healing.

Today, Camp For All has served more than 160,000 people and continues to serve about 11,000 annually. Camp For All is open all year long and partners with organizations such as Bo’s Place, Texas Children’s Hospital, MD Anderson Cancer Center, the Epilepsy Foundation, the Muscular Dystrophy Association and more. Camp For All serves challenges including cerebral palsy, cancer, autism, missing limbs, brain injuries, foster care, spina bifida, sickle cell and many more.

Has it been a smooth road?
We are having a huge impact on the Greater Houston community, and the need for more organizations to bring groups to Camp For All continues to increase. However, our Camp is approximately 80 miles away and because we also collaborate and jointly raise the funds with partner organizations for campers to attend Camp free of charge, our biggest challenge is the brand-awareness. Being farther away and partnered with recognizable local names makes it extra challenging for Camp For All to raise the funds needed to bring campers to Camp.

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the Camp For All story. Tell us more about it.
Camp For All is a unique, barrier-free camp that collaborates with 64 other not-for-profit organizations to enrich the lives of children and adults with special needs and challenging illnesses and their families throughout the year. Camp For All underwrites half the cost for each camper to attend camp.

Sitting on 206 acres in Washington County, Camp For All is a nationally recognized truly barrier-free facility with cutting edge programming that adapts universally to the needs of each and every group that attends, with the oversight of special needs camping professionals. People that are starting up camps come from all over the country to see, not just the accessible, but a barrier-free environment that has been created at Camp For All. We pride ourselves on not just having barrier-free facilities, but being barrier-free in our thinking and programming as well.

We also have a program named Camp For All 2U, which provides our amazing camp experiences, indoors and in town at the hospitals, for campers who can’t come to Camp and campers who do come to Camp but need more “can do” spirit.

How do you think the industry will change over the next decade?
One of our biggest priorities when looking at the future of Camp For All is figuring out a strategic plan for expanding Camp. With the growing population of children and adults with special needs and challenging illnesses in the Houston area, we simply are not large enough to serve every group and organization wanting to come to Camp For All throughout the year. That’s a need we’re not fully able to meet today and know will just continue to grow in the future.

One way, we are currently addressing this need is by expanding our Camp For All 2U program by adding more hospital locations each year. We are consistently researching and evaluating bigger impact opportunities as well.

Pricing:

  • $887 to send a camper to Camp For All for a week
  • $200 to send a camper to Camp For All for a weekend

Contact Info:

Getting in touch: VoyageHouston is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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