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How did it all begin?

In the late 1970’s, Robert F. Hanson, a professor of Recreation Administration at San Diego State University (SDSU) and an advocate of camping experiences for youth, discovered that recreational opportunities for disabled children were significantly lacking in the greater San Diego County and southern California area.

In particular, few camps had programs and activities for disabled children. Bob’s dream was to create a summer camp for disabled children regardless of the child’s disability. He knew the tremendous benefits of camp experiences for youth and thought the department he chaired at SDSU would be the ideal administrative unit to operate this type of facility and program.

Unfortunately, few others could see his vision – they could only think of the limitations of disabled children rather than their abilities and needs. In 1980, Russ Cahill, Director of the California State Parks and Recreation Department, conceptualized what the SDSU faculty were seeking.

“What you folks in San Diego should create is a beach-based camp for disabled kids. It fits perfectly what San Diego is best known for, its beaches, and I have a piece of property that would fit your needs perfectly!”

A beach-based camp of aquatic activities coupled with traditional camping activities (singing, campfires, crafts, and FUN) became a reality at Crown Cove in Silver Strand State Beach in 1981. Now with over 38 Summers of operation, Camp Able continues to provide the experience of a lifetime to disabled children and adults.