Camp Oak Marr near Hillsboro to Hold an Open House on September 6th
On Sunday, September 6th, special needs kids and their families will have an opportunity to explore the new 500 acre Camp Oak Marr which is located in beautiful and remote Southern Pocahontas County. The Camp is run by John and Dawn Meyer, and will open every weekend next summer for families with special needs children.
As a non-profit organization, Camp Oak Marr will ensure that every family with special needs children can afford to attend. They only ask that each family send a $25.00 registration fee and upon arrival the family can decide to either have that fee returned to them or can donate it to the camp. The camp is located at 9494 Lobelia Road near Hillsboro.
Before becoming Camp Oak Marr, it was a Bed and Breakfast called the Yew Mountain Lodge and was owned by a British Citizen, Alan Marr. As Dawn Meyer explains
“Camp Oak Marr was created in memory of our friend Alan Marr, who actually owned the property and donated it to the Camp so that the property would be used for something that everybody could enjoy but especially for children with special needs and their families to come out and have a safe haven to come out and enjoy” said Dawn.
Dawn tells about how this came about.
“We met Alan Marr in 2003 at his B&B” said Dawn. “We developed a strong friendship over the years, coming back up and helping him with things on the property. And in 2010 Alan returned to the UK (United Kingdom) after the death of his father. He developed cancer, and on October 1st, 2014 he lost his battle, but not before brainstorming to create a unique opportunity for the property in Hillsboro, West Virginia.”
Even though they met Alan by patronizing his Yew Mountain Bed and Breakfast, their relationship grew to where they accepted each other as family. Alan joined with Dawn and John to form the Marr Foundation. Upon his death, Alan entrusted the Meyers to fulfill his dream of letting others enjoy the land, thus Camp Oak Marr was born.
Dawn talks about some of the activities which will be offered at the camp next year.
“What we are going to be offering is hiking for those who can” said Dawn. “They can ride their bikes if they want, because some of the trails are very passable. We also want to show them how to do camping if they want to choose that. If they go and they try camping and they feel they don’t really want to listen to the deer snorting outside their tent, we also have six rooms that are available they can stay in and go out and visit nature during the day when it’s less scary.”
Dawn lets us know a little more about the rooms and the lodge.
“Each room has its own bathroom” Dawn says. “There is a great room where there is a pool table and games to play. There is a full dining room, so Breakfast, lunch and dinner will be served, although at night I think we will probably more likely be doing the campfire and the barbeque because it’s just so much more fun to eat hot dogs and hamburgers outside.”
Camp Oak Marr is unique among the many camps for special needs kids in that the parents don’t just drop their special needs child off at the camp for the weekend, but the child’s entire family, parents, brothers and sisters can be together at the camp and enjoy its facilities together as a family. Dawn says she is aware of only one other special needs camp that does this, and that one is in Seattle, Washington. Dawn explains why they invite the whole family.
“We feel it is very important for the whole family to come out and utilize the camp along with their children so they can see their children as children” said Dawn. “And enjoying playing outside and doing arts and crafts and it also allows the parents to network with other parents and maybe come up with ideas and best friends.”
So if you would like to attend the Open House this coming Sunday, there will be tours from 2pm to 6pm followed by a cookout and bonfire from 6pm to 8pm, and there is no charge for this. For further information and directions you can contact the camp at 304-653-8842 or on email at email@example.com. or visit their website at ww.campoakmarr.org You can also find some pictures with this story on our website, alleghenymountainradio.org.