Veterans Voices: Camp Freedom

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CARBONDALE, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — A year-round adventure camp for disabled veterans and first responders is changing lives in Lackawanna County.

On this week’s veterans voices, it’s a recreational facility unlike any other. A place to fish, bike, hunt, and relax.

The ride through camp freedom in Carbondale takes visitors through 18-hundred acres of camping, fishing, and hunting terrain with easy access to the Lackawanna River. Add miles of hiking, and biking trails, and it’s easy to see why this place has become a favorite getaway for disabled veterans, first responders, and gold star families.

“We decided that we’d want to target two true groups of heroes, veterans, and first responders. We made them the target because they’re two areas of our community that are underserved and have struggled because they’re constantly in the midst of trauma,” said Camp Freedom executive director, Matt Guedes.

Camp freedom started in 2018. It’s run by Guedes and five other staff members but the bulk of the work comes courtesy of more than 300 volunteers. All the activities are free to veterans.

The idea is to promote social well-being in the healing environment of Pennsylvania nature. Gay-des says getting these heroes out of clinical settings works wonders, proving there really are no limits.

“Regardless of skill set or ability, what they know or don’t know. You can trim trails and run heavy machinery and everything in between,” said Guedes.

The activities list is growing. They’re just about finished installing a wheelchair-accessible archery range and a shooting range isn’t far behind. In winter, cross country skiing is now an option. The long-range vision is a new and larger lodge in 2023.

“We have room to bring in many more guests, we just don’t have room for extended stays. We don’t have enough bedroom space in our current lodge,” said Guedes.

Matt says camp freedom is always in need of volunteers. If you’re interested in volunteering you can check those opportunities out on Camp Freedom’s website.

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