Mythic Magic: Bigfoot visits special needs summer camp

Published on Wednesday, 23 July 2014 22:37 - Written by Faith Harper, fharper@tylerpaper.com

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t’s not well known, but East Texas is one of Bigfoot’s favorite vacation spots.

The seclusive sasquatch and his bright pink girlfriend Priscilla are spending the week at Camp Kennedy, an annual weeklong camp for adults with special needs.

The camp is sponsored by the Arc of Smith County, which works to provide social functions for adults with special needs, including summer camps and bi-monthly dances as well as provide autism support groups.

“This is our campers one week of vacation a year,” Camp Director Jessica Ogden said. “Most of our people live in group homes. … Their days are very scheduled and routine, and there’s not a lot of fun, so as camp director I try to make it as silly, outlandish and ridiculous as possible.”

The camp, hosted at Tyler Metro’s Stonefort Camp in Whitehouse, includes science activities, craft projects, dancing, movies and a talent show.

It’s so much fun that Bigfoot likes to vacation there as well.

“He’s never eaten a camper,” Mrs. Ogden said. “He might be scared to come back if he did. He likes to watch everyone swim, and he really wants to do the zip line, but I think he’s too scared to do it.”

Bigfoot and his girlfriend Priscilla are messy guests and commonly leave dirty laundry in the trees, and their toothbrushes on the ground. They also are practical jokesters and like to leave long Bigfoot hairs on pillows and go to the bathroom in strange places.

Each day the campers go on a Bigfoot hunt to see what antics they have been up to. They search the woods in big groups for big, white footprints and check to see where the sasquatch went to the bathroom. The glittery droppings are easy to distinguish, and only a few of the campers are brave enough to touch the fake poop.

Bigfoot and Priscilla are usually nearby watching the campers, but will not come out into the open unless they sing their favorite Elvis song, “You Ain’t Nothin’ but a Hound Dog.”

Mrs. Ogden said Bigfoot is a big Elvis fan. The first year he decided to come to camp, his fellow campers were afraid of him, so he dressed up as his favorite singer to put them more at ease.

They’ve since become steadfast friends, and the shaggy couple gives out hugs and high fives to anyone who asks.

Bigfoot even showed up to the camp’s Christmas in July dance Wednesday evening dressed as Santa, and planned to attend the annual end of camp talent show.

Most of the campers realize their furry friend is mythical, but they have a good time playing along and don’t want to ruin the magic for anyone else, Mrs. Ogden said.

“I see them every other month (at the Arc’s Funlovers dances), and camp is the one thing they talk about all year long,” she said. “It’s never off their minds, and they are always excited to come back to camp.”