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Camp Stories

A “Beary” Happy Story

By Elizabeth McCurry
August 20, 2021

Bear Necessities

There are a lot of things at Victory that campers say are very special experiences. One of those things is that every camper who comes to Camp gets a blanket and bear to take back home with them. For the most part, staff don’t hear about those cuddle buddies again after they leave VJ for adventures with their new friends. But our camper Lia made us think about where and what happens to those stuffed bears that campers receive.

Lia at Victory Junction
Lia at Victory Junction.

Six-time camper, Lia came to Camp and was so excited to have a brand new bear to take home. One counselor asked since she had been before, what she was naming her new bear and what adventures they would go on together. Lia responded that she had a plan for all her bears from Camp, and that all circles back to what she plans to do as a career. Lia is the daughter of an art teacher and a school counselor, so naturally she also wanted to become a part of the education system herself. Lia has dreamed of becoming a first grade teacher since she was in kindergarten!

This school year, Lia is taking the first step in her journey to becoming an educator. As a junior in high school, she will take her first Early Education class. Even though her schooling journey still has a bit to go, Lia already has a plan for one part of her classroom! It is important to her to have a special place in her classroom where her future students will practice their reading skills to the bears she collected from Camp.

Lia snuggling with her Camp bears.
Lia snuggling with her Camp bears.

Sometimes with the big displays of happiness happening at Camp, smaller ones can be overlooked, but not by our campers. A bear that was donated to VJ for a special camper will now cause a ripple effect of the magic that can happen at Camp. Six bears will help the future of reading skills by listening to many stories of first graders to come.

These bears and blankets can do so much more than meets the eye. They bring comfort and sometimes even purpose to our campers. Do you or someone you know have the special talent of sewing or making blankets? You can use those talents so more kids like Lia can take their bear on their very own special adventures.

Lia snuggling with her Camp bears.
Lia snuggling with her Camp bears.

For more information on our “Bear Necessities” program please visit