Lions Camp Tatiyee at risk of cutting sessions due to lack of funding

LAKESIDE, AZ - Mariah Warbington, 13, can barely contain her excitement about attending summer camp this year.

"(Campers) go on go-cart rides. They have special go-carts with two steering wheels," said Mariah's mother, Jeni Finley.

Mariah, who's been diagnosed with cerebral palsy since she was a toddler, is excited to go go-carting next week as a camper at Lions Camp Tatiyee, a special needs summer camp that's taken place in the White Mountains. It's free-of-charge and free of worries, for a girl that's already beat the odds.

"They told me not to expect her to talk or drink from a bottle or basically do anything. She's pretty awesome," said Finley.

But the 10-week camp will be cut to eight this year due to a lack of funding.

It's primarily funded through recycling efforts by the Arizona Lions Clubs.

But after the closing of the Catalyst Paper Mill in in Snowflake, Ariz, the main source of recycling revenue for the clubs, dropped by 50 percent this year, meaning more than 120 kids and adults will miss out.

"It's like a lifeline for these kids because it’s an opportunity for them to be with their peers who understand what they're going through," said the camp's Executive Director Pam Swanson.

It's still tough for this mom to see her daughter go to camp, even though it's Mariah's fifth trip.

But she knows. It's for the better.

"To get (all of the special needs campers) together and be able to see each other and people that are like you, or understand what you're going through, there's nothing else that we've seen that can do that," said Finley.

For more information on how you can donate to the camp, go the camp's website: www.arizonalionscamp.org/

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