Special family works to make camp for those with special needs a reality

Posted at 9:07 PM, Jul 14, 2017
and last updated 2017-07-17 12:44:47-04

A very special family has a very special dream and now, Jason and Kami Chapa are working to make that dream become a reality.

Idaho and the rest of the world first took notice of Kami as a video of her singing to her dying son, Hayden, went viral on social media.   

Hayden passed away in late 2016. The little boy born with microlissencephaly faced numerous medical challenges.  Doctors warned the Chapas that Hayden would not live long and told the young parents to take Hayden home and love on him.  That’s exactly what the Chapas did, packing a lifetime of memories into Hayden’s three short years on earth.

Now, Jason and Kami want other families to experience those same memories.  “The crazy part is, right after he was gone and gained his wings, basically, we were completely inspired,” Jason recalled.

The Chapas were inspired to help others with special needs family members.  Jason said, “Our special needs community, whether they’re children, adults or veterans, they’re discriminated against.” Jason admitted that the discrimination is not intentional.  He said, “They just don’t have as many opportunities as the rest of us do.”

So with Hayden’s love for life and adventure in mind, Jason and Kami set out to do something about it. Kami said of Jason, “He was like let’s do Camp Hayden.  Let’s get this out there.  Let’s get these children to go and have these adventures.”

The Chapas say the memories they made with Hayden will last a lifetime.  Kami said, “Hayden loved it.  Those are the best memories we could have had with him.”

The Chapas could not have experienced those memories without some creativity and ingenuity.  “Jason has come up with some adaptable equipment so we could take our little boy on all of these fun family outings,” said Kami.

Jason and Kami aim to do what they did for Hayden on a much larger scale.  “We want other families who have special needs kids to be able to enjoy things like this,” Kami said.

Camp Hayden is the Chapas dream.  It will offer special needs children and adults the chance to experience adventure like everyone else. People will be able to safely participate in outdoor activities like zip-lining, swimming and even off-road adventures – complete with accessible trails.

Jason said of Camp Hayden, “We think that we can create something that’s going to be unstoppable.”  Now, the Chapas are looking for land to make this dream a reality.  They’d love for Camp Hayden to be close to home in Idaho Falls, but they’re not opposed to other areas within the Gem State. 


To find out what you can do to help, check out the website for Camp Hayden.