Project Kindle is a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing camps to children with special needs striving to kindle its vision in the hearts of everyone in the Santa Clarita Valley.
At a luncheon Wednesday, Project Kindle’s leadership presented their stories and vision with community leaders and local business owners in an effort to raise awareness and funds for their needs.
Under the leadership of Eva Payne, who started the organization in 1998, Project Kindle is collaborating with other nonprofits to build a camp, Kindle Ranch, in the SCV for children with chronic illnesses and disabilities.
“It’s going to be a state-of-the-art facility where children in wheelchairs can get around, where children that have disabilities can swim, they can zip line, they can perform all the same types of activities that a normal child could perform,” explained Trina Harrison, Public Relations Specialist for Kindle Ranch.
Project Kindle leaders are currently looking for a location for their camp facility; currently, they are looking at property in Sloan Canyon. It is most important that they find 25-30 acres of relatively flat land.
Joe Um, architect for Focus Building Solutions, presented a proposed layout for Kindle Ranch. In addition to the completely paved and easily accessible camp area, he highlighted a lake or pond, health center, pool, cabins, and activity rooms that would be welcoming to kids and adults with disabilities.
“For Kindle Ranch to be here in Santa Clarita would be so amazing, because not only is it going to serve nonprofits of the greater southern California community, but it’s going to serve kids in our community as well. There’s really only three camp facilities like it in the United States; two are in Texas and one is in Georgia,” explained Payne.
Payne started Kindle Camps in 1998 and has continued to offer them every year with the help of her husband and growing staff. Having experienced the difficulties of renting out camp facilities and trying to adjust them to the needs of kids with disabilities, Payne is excited about building the facility to serve kids on the west coast.
16-year-old D’vonte Johnson, an eight year veteran of Kindle Camps, said “I’ve been to other camps, but I think this is my favorite one.”
During the luncheon, Johnson explained some of the challenges he has at camps where the facilities do not fit his needs. His wheelchair has difficulty handling the dirt paths and steep hills and bathrooms and showers are often inaccessible. Kindle Ranch would have solutions for each of these problems.
To find out more about Kindle Ranch and to offer your support, click here.