Rockwall YMCA Angel Campers celebrate successful season

(ROCKWALL, TX – July 25, 2017) The kids of J.E.R. Chilton YMCA’s Angel Camp program donned their favorite western wear last Friday for a rootin’ tootin’ good time at a cowboy-themed dance party marking the end of summer camp.

Western-themed décor was placed around the YMCA’s gymnasium. Chiloso in Rockwall catered a delicious Mexican feast, Nothing Bundt Cakes served up dessert, and each camper received a special award during the event.

With families and friends gathered to celebrate, Rockwall County Sheriff Harold Eavenson made a guest appearance and gave out the awards to the kids.

The J.E.R. Chilton YMCA at Rockwall offers Angel Camp to the community as a way for children with special needs ages 5-18 to have a camp experience they otherwise might not be able to have.

The program emphasizes youth development, healthy living and social responsibility in a safe environment that allows unique children to explore and create with the support their needs require.

Angel Campers can expect a mixture of entertaining activities on a daily basis, including crafts, songs, games, BB’s, archery, canoeing, an hour of swim time at the pool, and weekly field trips.

This year the kids visited the Dallas Zoo, tried their hand at bowling at Shenaniganz, experienced horseback riding at Highland Horses, spent a morning at the movie theater, explored fire trucks, and enjoyed sailing aboard Seawolf on Lake Ray Hubbard. 

Angel Camp families had an opportunity to share some of their thoughts during the closing ceremonies. Truman, one of the Angel Campers, said he most enjoyed bowling.  This was his third summer to enjoy all the field trips. He was excited to use his new snorkel and flippers in the pool.

Another veteran camper, Brett, enjoyed seeing his friends at camp, getting to shoot BB guns, and being able to eat on the bus on the way to the zoo!

Aiden’s family said that Angel Camp has been a blessing to their family, and they described it as a place of safety and comfort for the children. Aiden said he loves swimming and basketball. 

“These kids have a special place in my heart. Each year I see these kids experience life lessons and social interactions that they may never otherwise get, and I see them grow every summer. I love getting to see the small triumphs that each child achieves,” said Melissa Cotner, who has served as Angel Camp Director for the past five years. “Angel Camp is completely free for all participants, funded through donations from our generous sponsors in the community and businesses around us.”   

For the fifth year in a row, Dodie’s Cajun Diner at The Harbor donated proceeds from its Annual Crawfish Fest to the YMCA so that the Y can continue to offer Angel Camp at no charge to parents.

Dodie’s co-owner Gabe Nicolella and Dodie’s general manager Dan Keils presented a check in the amount of $6,700 during the event.

“This has become a tradition for Dodie’s – a fun way to serve the community and support a great cause,” said Keils. “Our Crawfish Fest continues to sell out each year, thanks to so many people who want to help. We like to call it crawfish cash for Angel Camp.”

This year’s Angel Camp sponsors included Dodie’s, Chiloso, Nothing Bundt Cakes, Kidd Kraddick Radio DJs, Sail with Scott, Highland Horses School of Riding, Crosspoint Community Church, and Wally’s Party Factory.

WATCH THE VIDEO BELOW for a recap of Angel Camp 2018 festivities.

For more information on Angel Camp, contact Camp Director Melissa Cotner at  or call the Y at 972-772-9622.

Submitted press release by J.E.R. Chilton YMCA at Rockwall.

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