Camp Wonder Hands seeks volunteers, counselors and first-time campers

Palmetto Health Children’s Hospital-led camp serves children who are deaf and hard-of-hearing

Volunteers, volunteer counselors, campers and community support are needed for Camp Wonder Hands, a six-day, five-night camp for deaf and hard-of-hearing children ages 7-15. Held at Camp Kinard, near Batesburg-Leesville, the camp is a program of Palmetto Health Children’s Hospital and is set for June 24-29. The deadline for applications is Monday, April 23.

Camp Wonder Hands is offered at no cost to campers. To serve as a volunteer or volunteer counselor, a person does not have to be deaf, hard-of-hearing or have the ability to sign. Training is provided during an orientation session held just prior to the camp.

Jena Martin and her husband, Brad, are the parents of four adopted children. “It has been a remarkable journey,” said Martin. In the span of two years, the couple adopted four children from two sibling groups. The Martins fostered sons Dakota, 8, and Jacob, 11, before their adoption was finalized in May 2016. The brothers had been through four previous foster homes and much transitioning in their young lives.

“Dakota came to us at age 4-1/2 and was not yet potty trained,” said Martin. “Brad and I noticed that something more was going on. After testing, we found that he couldn’t hear.” There had been no previous recognition of Dakota’s hearing problem and no early intervention. “Dakota is just now catching up socially and we are thankful that camps like Camp Wonder Hands exist,” said Martin.

Dakota was a first-time camper at Camp Wonder Hands in 2016. As part of the camp’s sibling program, Dakota was able to bring his big brother. The Martins also are the parents of their biological great-niece, Gracie, and her baby brother, Jackson.

“Camp has been an amazing experience for both of our boys. Neither had stayed overnight away from us for that length of time and neither had attended a camp, so it was definitely a first,” said Martin. “I am so thankful for the loving camp staff, their encouragement, support, understanding and willingness to get our kids with special needs on their own journey to make it the best experience possible.”

For more information about Camp Wonder Hands, call 803-296-KIDS (5437) for information and applications or visit

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About Palmetto Health Children’s Hospital

Palmetto Health Children's Hospital is South Carolina’s first children's hospital and has more than 150,000 children’s visits each year. It offers more than 30 subspecialties to meet the unique health care needs of children and has central South Carolina's only Children’s Emergency Center. With more than 350 professionals who work exclusively with children, Palmetto Health Children's Hospital has a team of highly skilled and trained experts unmatched by any hospital in the Midlands. Palmetto Health Children's Hospital is the place to go for children's medical care, because the best care matters.

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