About Wonderland Camp
The mission of Wonderland Camp is to provide a fun, educational camp experience for children, teenagers and adults who have disabilities; to offer a respite from daily care giving for their family members and healthcare workers; and to provide and nurture a personal development experience for volunteers and staff.
Why Wonderland Camp?
Since 1969, Wonderland Camp has provided a fun, educational summer camp experience for campers of all ability levels and of all ages. We create an individualized experience for every individual camper who visits Camp at the Lake of the Ozarks (voted BEST Recreational Lake by USA Today Readers).
Charles J. Miller had a dream. It all started the summer of 1969 during a conversation with the Executive Director of the Woodhaven Learning Center, a school for children with disabilities children in Columbia, Missouri.
His dream was of a residential summer camp on property he and his brother-in-law, Harry Brown, owned, located on the Lake of the Ozarks, a camp for everyone whatever the ability level. Their goal was to create a place for people and campers with disabilities to experience the exhilaration of outdoor play. A camp designed to match their special medical needs and provide them with the maximum safety with freedom to enjoy nature.
Meetings and discussions with concerned groups including the Missouri State Division of Mental Health, United Cerebral Palsy of Missouri, and Woodhaven Learning Center, led to a meeting with the Missouri Jaycees Executive Committee.
Mr. Miller told the Jaycees of his dream, and on May 17, 1970, the Missouri Jaycees voted to adopt the camp project. Mr. Miller and Mr. Brown donated their land; 35 undeveloped acres adjoining the Lake of the Ozarks with an additional 200 acres for nature trails and out camping.
They named it Wonderland Camp and it was incorporated as a not-for-profit foundation by the State of Missouri.
Jaycee chapters throughout the state came forward to contribute. The Kansas City Jaycees provided the professional architectural and planning services. The Southern Platte Chapter took on half the cost and labor involved in installation of a well and pump. And Missouri Jaycee Chapters throughout the state gave liberally of their labor to build the facilities.
Although only a few buildings were completed, the camp was functionally sound and usable enough to welcome its first campers in the spring of 1972. By the August closing date 157 children and 83 counselors and staff had used and thoroughly enjoyed the new Wonderland Camp.
Since the first small start, construction has gone forward. Facilities have been expanded to provide an outdoor camping experience for over 1,000 campers each summer. The camp is still growing
Employer - Lake Regional
Hot Shotz Sports Bar and Grill
Owner of CDK Communications LLC. Established in 2006. Began helping with the camp with my father when he was with the Jaycees in the early 70’s. Joined the Jaycees in the early 90’s and have been heavily involved in building projects and Fund raising with the Jaycees and Missouri Muleskinner Corp.
Terry has been involved with Wonderland Camp since 1978 and was first elected to the board in 1989. He has held the position of Assistant Treasurer and is currently the Treasurer for the board. He has a BS degree in Accounting from Truman State University and his MBA degree from the University of Central Missouri. He enjoys watching sporting events and traveling to major league and minor league baseball stadiums in his spare time. He resides in Independence, Missouri.
Lori is a lifelong supporter of camp as one of our founder’s two granddaughters. She has served on the board since 2006 as a member, president and secretary. Her professional background is in human resources and communication and she was a partner at Hewitt Associates, a global management consulting firm that was acquired by Aon in 2010. Her other philanthropic interests include early childhood and elementary education in low-income urban areas and supporting her local United Way and Women United chapters. Lori lives in Libertyville, Illinois with her husband Barry Reszel and they have two adult children, Bradford and Christina.
Gerry worked for Boeing for 40 years and retired. Living in St. Peters, MO, Gerry has been involved with Wonderland Camp in some form or fashion since 1975. He served as the President of the board from 2004 – 2012. Gerry is now using his time to educate people about Wonderland Camp, get new people involved in volunteering and assisting Wonderland Camp as well as raising money.
Cheryl and her husband own and run two successful home remodeling companies in St. Louis, MO, STL Design & Build and Bath Planet of St. Louis. She’s the proud mom to Jacob who has been attending Wonderland Camp annually since 2006. Cheryl went to a camp as a young girl and yearned for her son to share the amazing experiences of an overnight camp also. That became a reality when she discovered Wonderland Camp! At first she came to camp with him and now he comes to a couple sessions each summer, as well as attends weekend camps. She is so passionate about Wonderland Camp, she joined the board in 2016. Cheryl was also an elected member to the Inter-District Parent Advisory Committee between Parkway Schools and Special School District and is a graduate of the Missouri Partners in Policymaking, a leadership training program for self-advocated parents of children with developmental disabilities. Cheryl went to Mizzou for two years and then transferred and earned her degree in Marketing from Arizona State University. She also serves on the Patient & Family Centered Care Council at St. Louis Children’s Hospital and is a founding member of a parent networking group who help each other create enviable lives for their adult children who have special needs.
Brian joined the board of directors in 2015, prior to that he was the webmaster for the camp from 2005 to 2013. He has been supporting the camp since he was a kid in the 1980's.
Currently, he is the webmaster for DiscountCoffee.com. He has been employed with DiscountCoffee.com since 2006 and working in the web design and development industry since 1997.
Deborah Wolfe is the owner of Wolfepup Productions, a multimedia communications company specializing in editorial and marketing content for print and broadcast outlets as well as business and not-for-profit organizations. Throughout her career as a journalist, Deborah has written for news organizations such as the Kansas City Star and Jefferson City New Tribune and has also worked as a television reporter for Ozark TV, Lake TV, KRCG-CBS and more. She currently works as a writer and marketing consultant for LakeExpo.com and as an on-air reporter for Lake TV. As a longtime resident of the Lake of the Ozarks, Deborah enjoys using her expertise in marketing and communications to build awareness about Wonderland Camp and the enhanced quality of life it brings to campers and their families.
Jeff Backes is the owner and operator of One-Stop Office Supplies & Gifts in Jefferson City, MO since 2003. He lives in Eugene, MO with his wife Sandy, and daughter, Gracie. He has been a member of the Jefferson City Jaycees since 1988 and has been a supporter of Wonderland Camp since joining the Jaycees. Jeff is also a member of the Knights of Columbus and the Jefferson City Area Chamber of Commerce.
Cory joined Wonderland Camp in December 2016. He graduated from Texas A&M with a BS in Mechanical Engineering. After graduation, Cory worked in the oil and gas industry. During his 15 years in the oil and gas industry, he learned numerous skills that help him in developing and managing a diverse team. At Wonderland Camp, Cory provides oversight for all fundraising, maintenance and camp activities. He will serve as the face of the camp and looks forward to getting into the community to meet all the people and business that help keep camp special to so many.