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Center Happenings

20th Annual Norman Conquest
Hosted by the Bicycle League of Norman
Benefiting the
J. D. McCarty Center
Saturday, July 11, 2015

Gutter Dance XII
A charity bowling event
Thursday, May 7, 2015
Greg Gaston 307.2807

OMCA Charity Golf Tournament
Monday, Sept 14, 2015
Twin Hills Golf Club
Rick Moore 236.2248

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            Registration begins for Camp ClapHans

            Summer sessions start in June at camp for kids with special needs


            Families can register now for Camp ClapHans, a residential summer camp in Norman for children with disabilities. 

            The camp is for kids ages 8 to 18 and is an outreach program of the J.D. McCarty Center for children with developmental disabilities. The center is a pediatric rehab hospital that specializes in the care and treatment of children with developmental disabilities.

            The deadline to register for the camp is April 23. The cost is $325, and scholarships are available to families who qualify. Five camp sessions are offered this summer, and the sessions are from Sunday afternoon to Wednesday afternoon.

            The camp is located on the center's campus at 2002 E. Robinson St. in Norman and features two cabins and an activities building that are located next to an 11-acre lake.

            Activities for campers include archery, arts and crafts, camp fires, canoeing, fishing, horseback riding, talent shows and swimming.


            Camp Director Kyle Cottrell said the camp offers kids with special needs a place where they can discover a new activity, make new friends and develop more independence.

“Camp ClapHans is a great program that provides our campers with a fantastic experience. During their week at camp, our campers will participate in activities like horseback riding, archery, canoeing, crafting and games,” Cottrell said. “Our hope is that by participating in these activities, campers will have a boost to their self-confidence and a willingness to try new things that will stay with them even after camp is over.”

Emily Reimer, 17, has attended Camp ClapHans for two summers and describes it as “one of the best experiences of my life.”

“It has given me more confidence,” said Reimer, who has Asperger syndrome and cerebral palsy.

Her mother, Traci, agrees.

“Camp has been such a positive experience for Emily.  She came home from the first year with a confidence that I had never seen before,” Traci Reimer said. “It was a life-changing experience that she talked about to everyone she saw.”

Traci Reimer, of Mustang, said one of the reasons the family chose Camp ClapHans is because her daughter loves to camp and “we were interested in fostering some independence for her in a safe way.”

“Emily has watched her two younger sisters go to camp/sleepovers at friends, etc. with a great deal of envy.  We were very excited with the idea that she could experience this without mom having to attend with her.”

“I would encourage other parents to send their kids to Camp ClapHans to give them the opportunity to have a safe place to experience independence,” Traci Reimer said.

Camp ClapHans also features a 1-to-1 staff to camper ratio, registered dietitians on site to address dietary needs for campers and a physician and nurses available to assist with any medical needs, Cottrell said.

  Also, camp staff members work with the J.D. McCarty Center therapists and psychological clinicians “to ensure campers’ social and emotional needs are being fulfilled,” Cottrell said.




            Camp staff members are typically university students who are working toward a degree in allied health-care fields, such as physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech-language pathology; special and general education; outdoor recreation; nutrition and other related fields, he said.

To register for camp, call 405-307-2814 or email For more information about the camp, visit


Info boxes:

Camp sessions:

This summer will feature a superhero theme. The camp sessions start on Sundays and end on Wednesdays. Here is the schedule for 2015:

n Session 1: June 14 — June 17

n Session 2: June 21— June 24

n Session 3: June 28 — July 1

n Session 4: July 12 — July 15

n Session 5: July 19 — July 22


Fast facts about Camp ClapHans

Registration: Families can register for Camp ClapHans from now until April 23. To register, call Camp Director Kyle Cottrell at 405-307-2814 or e-mail You can also visit for more information.

Age limit: The camp is for kids with special needs ages 8 to 18.

Cost: The cost to attend a three-day camp session is $325, and scholarships are available to families who qualify.

Camp location: The camp is located on the south side of the McCarty Center's property in Norman at 2002 E. Robinson St.                  

Camp history: The camp opened in June 2013. It is named in honor of the late Sammy Jack Claphan (CQ), a citizen of the Cherokee Nation and an Oklahoma native. Claphan played football at the University of Oklahoma and graduated with a degree in special education. He later played in the NFL for the Cleveland Browns and the San Diego Chargers. After retiring from the NFL, he returned to Oklahoma and became a special education teacher. He died in 2001.



Taylor and Emily and their artwork

Taylor Cannon, left, a counselor at Camp ClapHans, and camper Emily Reimer, 17, show off artwork they painted on their hands during a camp session in 2014. Reimer has attended Camp ClapHans for two summers and describes it as “one of the best experiences of my life.”


Image of a Kyle Camp Director

Kyle Cottrell is the director of Camp ClapHans, a residential summer camp in Norman for children with disabilities. The camp is an outreach project of the J.D. McCarty Center for children with developmental disabilities. The camp opened in 2013.