Questions & Answers
What is Mississippi Toughest Kids Foundation?
MTK is a 501(c)(3) charity with the single purpose of building and maintaining in Mississippi a camp facility to be used exclusively by children (and adults) with serious illnesses, disabilities, and special needs. The camp will operate as a partner camp.
What is a partner camp?
We will provide the facility, which includes food, maintenance, administrative and program guidance with specially trained staff for all areas of camp. We will also subsidize a large part of the cost per camper. Partner organizations will bring their campers, volunteer counselors and medical team. Groups now holding camps in Mississippi (partner camps) will simply be invited to move their program to our facility, that has been designed for them and is used solely by them.
Who comes to MTK?
It is our desire that through the years this camp be used by thousands of kids with various illnesses, disabilities and challenges including, but not limited to: asthma, spina bifida, cancer, HIV, muscular dystrophy, diabetes, brain injuries, hemophilia, Tourette syndrome, autism, transplant receipients, kids in foster care, arthritis, visual and hearing impairments, developmental disabilities, bereavement, sickle cell disease, thalassemia, Celiac disease, Crohn's and colitis, and more! It is our plan that as these kids become adults an adult camp will be available for them as well. We can also envision senior adults and schools using the camp for day trips. OUR FACILITY WILL ONLY BE LIMITED BY OUR IMAGINATION, AND YOURS.
Our goal is to see MTK used year round through a full summer of activities, fall, winter and spring weekend retreats and day visits.
What about the medical needs of the campers?
The camp will have a state-of-the-art infirmary with sleeping areas for nurses and doctors, treatment rooms, examination rooms, isolation rooms and safe places to store medical supplies. The benefit of a partner camp is that each partner will bring with them to camp nurses and doctors who already know the campers and their medical needs.
Why do we need such a camp in Mississippi?
Mississippi does not have a camp devoted solely to children with special needs, although there are many groups around our state holding camps for these kids. These are great camps, organized and staffed with volunteers who lease church camps or state parks for their camp. As wonderful as these facilities are, they were created to provide camp for children of their denomination or for tourists on vacation. Scheduling is a problem when leasing someone else’s camp. Only groups bringing kids with special needs will be using our camp...problem solved!
Often other facilities don't have an infirmary, making the job of the nurses very difficult. Also, there usually aren't more than one or two toilet stalls or showers large enough for a child needing assistance. None of these camps have sidewalks connecting all the buildings and leading to activities, making it hard for children in wheel chairs, those using walkers, or the blind to move around camp. Pool access can be a serious challenge to some.
The benefits of a single facility for these groups are numerous. A single facility would ensure the availability of prime summer weeks to these groups. It would also ensure a cooperative effort in programming, volunteer recruitment and solicitation of donated goods. Costs could be cut through group purchasing of medical supplies, crafts and other program supplies, insurance and food. Through the use of a single facility, the facility itself, as well as the staff (program director, cooks, maintenance, housekeeping, life guards and others leading program areas), would be geared specifically to children with special health and sometimes dietary needs. Finally, this would ensure an equal camping opportunity for all children.
Where will MTK be located?
We have 326.39 acres in NW Copiah County.
How much will it cost to build the camp?
About $17 million.
How will the camp be funded?
The camp will be funded many different ways: donations, sponsorships, fundraisers, grants. Organizations using the camp will be expected to pay a minimal fee for each camper and volunteer attending. NO CAMPER WILL EVER PAY.
How can I help?
We very much want to let people know about our plans. You can help by allowing us to come speak to your group. Of course, we need funds. You can have a fund raiser or give directly in memory or honor of someone. We have tribute cards and brochures we’d love to mail anyone interested. Or you can donate through our secure online donation page. We can be reached at: MTK Foundation, PO Box 520, Crystal Springs, MS 39059 or 601-892-1117. You can always call Mary Kitchens (MTK Executive Director) on her cell 601-750-3457 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.