Camp Funshine

Tim Vrana of Rogers gets his turn to ride a horse Wednesday morning at Camp Funshine. The camp is being held all week at Wilson Park Recreation Center in Temple.

Going on a Cruise is the theme of this year’s Camp Funshine.

Camp Funshine got underway Tuesday and will continue through Friday at Wilson Park Recreation Center.

Funshine is the annual camp held at the end of May for adults in the area with intellectual or developmental disabilities. This year about 160 campers attended.

Wednesday was horse ride day at Camp Funshine and each camper was given a chance to get in the saddle and ride a horse.

While horses may not fit the Going on a Cruise theme, it doesn’t matter. Every year there are horse rides and the campers would be plenty upset if it were not part of the camp.

Tim Vrana was dressed appropriately for his horse ride Wednesday morning. He had on a Western-themed shirt, a black cowboy hat and jeans.

Mike Halfmann and John Downing and their children have been bringing horses to Camp Funshine since the 1980s. Downing didn’t make it to the camp this year, but plenty of other horse handlers were around.

“The campers have so much fun and what’s not to enjoy when these folks are having such a good time,” Halfmann said.

The campers climbed the stairs to a platform where they could, with a little help, easily sit down on the saddle. A handler was there to lead the horse around the lawn.

During the week Vrana works for GT Drywall doing texture work.

“I like it. I’ve worked there for about 14 years,” he said.

He enjoys mowing the lawn when he’s at home.

The local ARC chapter holds a fun night each Thursday at Wilson Recreation Center for adults with intellectual disabilities and Vrana calls the Bingo games when needed.

The ARC is a national advocacy group.

Marjorie Boniface Balz, 95, was sitting among the campers as they waited their turn to ride the horse. She knows most of them by name.

Balz and her friend Margie Powell, whose son had Down syndrome, were instrumental in starting the camp in her backyard about 50 years ago.

Other activities for the day was a treasure hunt, a fishing activity inside that required the participant to lower a string with a magnet at the end of the line to a fish with a magnet on its head. Also, nearby was a shark mouth that participants tried to sweep little fish into.

Julie Slade eventually caught a fish with a little outside help.

Across the lobby was a set up to have photos taken in front of a poster of a cruise ship. There was bright pink luggage and different items that could be worn by those posing for their vacation shot.

On Wednesday, a DJ was playing some tunes in the gym as campers danced. Camper Trey Adams took over the microphone and sang along with some favorites, such as the KC and the Sunshine Band’s ’70s favorite “Get Down Tonight.”

Janet Abbe said dancers were going to be at the camp on Thursday to perform and to teach the campers how to line dance.

“So we’ll be dancing and swimming tomorrow,” Abbe said.

Bush’s Chicken will be served for lunch on Friday and that’s a favorite, she said.