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Easter Seals Camp Challenge Cruise-In Car Show • April 18, 2009

story, photos and captions by John Michael

On Saturday, April 18th, 2009, many answered the call to “Bring out your best wheels for Easter Seals” as the 1st Annual Easter Seals Camp Challenge Cruise-In Car Show was held on the grounds of Camp Challenge near Sorrento, Florida. Sunny skies and mild breezes greeted those arriving for the show, and over 80 vehicles were registered for the first time event.

Goody bags were given out at registration, and door prize numbers were called out throughout the day. Once your door prize number was called, you were then eligible for a later drawing for the Grand Door Prizes at the end of the day. Once everyone got parked and completed detailing their rides, many wandered inside the Dining Hall, where the Bake Sale and a Silent Auction took place, and at around 11:00 am the Easter Seals staff provided tours of Camp Challenge, giving participants a chance to see the facilities first hand. O-Town Die Cast Racing had their Hot Wheels track set up on the basketball court, offering fun racing with die-cast cars. Exploring the grounds of Camp Challenge provided a chance to visit the animals located in the Animal Farm, and after all of these activities, those working up an appetite were able to purchase food and drink provided by Jo Ma Ma’s Kountry Katering. WJBJ Cruisin’ with the Classics DJ Butch Johnston provided the music, including our favorite cruising songs.

By early afternoon, the car voting ended, and everyone gathered around the DJ trailer, as it was time for the awards ceremony. The drawing for the Grand Door Prizes was held, and then Executive Director Julie Wright introduced the 2008-2009 Camp Ambassador Aurelia Mc Donald, who was able to share her stories about Camp Challenge. Finally, the show concluded with the presentation of the Top 30 awards, followed by the Camper’s Choice, the People’s Choice and the Best of Show awards, along with the 50/50 drawing, which paid out $363 to the winner.

Camp Challenge is located on 63 wooded acres just outside of Sorrento, Florida, and is the only Easter Seals Camp in Florida. The camp was founded in 1961 as a place for children and adults with cognitive or physical disabilities, and gives campers the chance to participate in sports, ride horses, enjoy nature trails hikes, and swim in the large wheelchair accessible outdoor swimming pool. In addition to the Arts & Crafts center, there are 9 air-conditioned and heated cottages as well as two dormitories complete with roll-in shower facilities, and during Camp Sessions has a 24-hour staffed health and wellness center, and meals are prepared for the campers’ special needs by the trained staff in their fully equipped kitchen. Camp Challenge can also be rented for family reunions, business conferences, and community events as well as corporate and group retreats. For more information, rates and availability for renting Camp Challenge, please call James Bryant at 352-383-4711 ext. 203. For more information about Camp Challenge contact Nell Gyenes, Director of Development, at 407-629-7881 ext. 12102, or E-Mail For info on next year’s event, check for a listing in the Coming Attractions section of Mike Kelly’s Cruise News as it draws closer. CN