Dream Oaks Camp represents a living dream for our founder, Eddie Mulock. While recuperating from heart transplant surgery at Shands Hospital in 1995, he witnessed the plight of many children with disabilities and chronic illnesses. He wondered what they did away from their many hours at the hospital and was inspired to create a place these children could look forward to and call their own. He returned home to Bradenton and set forth on his mission to build a camp designed to meet the needs of children with physical and developmental challenges.
In August of 2000, the Foundation for Dreams formed a collaborative partnership/lease agreement with the Southwest Florida Council of the Boy Scouts of America. This effort allowed the Foundation to build Dream Oaks Camp on several pristine acres of Camp Flying Eagle, thereby utilizing their existing facilities while focusing on renovating and building new facilities. In 2001, Eddie Mulock’s dream came true as we welcomed our first summer campers, providing day camp services to 56 children. In the fall of 2001, a ground breaking ceremony was held to begin the construction of 7 Dream Oaks cabins that sleep up to 20 people, all designed to be barrier-free and inclusive to meet the needs of any child with special needs. Today, we are proud to say that all 7 cabins have been constructed and we provide services to over 700 individuals a year through our year-round residential and day camp sessions with a 3:1 camper to counselor ratio or better.
Making meaningful changes, one child at a time
The Foundation for Dreams is unique in that we are the only organization in the Southwest Region of Florida that provides year-round weekend, spring break and summer residential camp sessions for children with varying ability levels and chronic/terminal medical conditions.
In addition to providing services for our campers, we target families as a whole, focusing on overall family health and well-being. Our program is designed to give parents and caregivers a 3-day and/or 5-day respite, which has been proven helpful in creating an opportunity for parents to “recharge their batteries,” spend time with other children and/or their spouse, or perform necessary adult tasks such as grocery shopping, employment, or date night.
“Travis LOVES Dream Oaks more than you can possibly know and compares every happy emotion he has with how it feels to be there. Like most kids with ASD he struggles to find a place where he truly fits in and is always left feeling like he does not quite belong…Dream Oaks Camp is the place where he belongs! “ - Jenee, camper mom