Oklahoma Conference of the United Methodist Church

A very unique camp for the most priceless cause


As a business model in today’s economy, Ceili Camp is an utter failure. It provides specialized, full-time care for children with special needs for a week during summer. It employs a full staff of special education teachers, a nurse, and enough helpers to allow for a one to one ratio of leaders/helpers to campers.

Camp leaders manage personalities, energy levels, meltdowns, and even medical issues. They change the lighting and sounds to help with overstimulation and understimulation. They provide fidget toys and activities to keep little hands and minds busy and engaged. These amenities carry a huge cost, and service providers are usually encouraged to charge a premium for such accommodations.

Ceili Camp charges $0.00.

This is obviously not a business or a money-making operation. The model for Ceili Camp is pure, unconditional love.

And it’s not funded by wealth. It’s barely funded at all. With a $2,500 grant from New Faith Communities and grants from other funding sources, Ceili Camp’s workforce is mostly volunteers. While it’s not sustainable as a full-time care operation, the Ceili Community did offer it as a week-long day camp.

Of course, the leaders would love to do more - add more camps, more times, more opportunities. Families of children with special needs have an opportunity for respite care when an inclusive camp like Ceili is offered. Some camps are not equipped to host medically fragile children or those with enhanced needs.

“Ceili Camp is a discipleship pathway for Ceili Community. It provides an opportunity to serve and love families who have no current church home,” explained pastor Levi Duggan. “So many families with special needs have felt left out of church life - shunned for a child who vocalizes during worship, or left behind by poor training and safety protocols for children with particular needs.” In the case of Ceili Community, they are committed to always progressing in the direction of more ability inclusion.

A new home

Ceili Community recently shared exciting news with the help of a special guest. On Father’s Day, Bishop Nunn spoke at the Ceili Community monthly gathering, which has been hosted at Southern Hills UMC.

“Bishop Nunn reiterated a commitment that the Bishop and the Annual Conference have made multiple times, that as churches disaffiliate, the United Methodist Church will seek new ways to maintain a presence in communities that have lost their UMC church,” stated Duggan.

Bishop Nunn announced that Ceili Community is moving to weekly, Sunday morning worship in the eastern Mustang area, at 4409 S. County Line Rd. In fact, Ceili’s new church home will straddle Mustang and Western Heights School districts. Ceili Community’s first Sunday worship will be Sunday, August 13.

Ceili Community’s unique presence as an inclusive, community-based, Celtic worship and ministry experience offers many opportunities for growth and development of programs geared toward inclusion. To learn more about Ceili Community’s mission, go to the website.


Note: The language in the special needs community is constantly changing, and there are multiple schools of thought on which language to use. Any errors in language use are purely those of the author.



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