2023 Great Lakes Chapter 14th Annual Summer Campout
July 28 - July 30
You are invited to join us for a weekend campout for anyone with bladder exstrophy, cloacal exstrophy, cloaca, epispadias and hypospadias, and their families and friends. This is a great way to connect with other families, share in similar experiences and know that you are not alone! To view some videos about what our campouts are like, visit the “Courage to Shine” website.
Location and Facilities
Eby’s Pines RV Park & Campground in Bristol, Indiana, is located in the scenic forests of northern Indiana’s Amish Country. It is just minutes from the Indiana Toll Road. Eby’s Pines has tent sites, full hook-up sites, pull-thru sites, and cabins, as well as two heated pools and a playground. Driving directions to Eby’s Pines may be found toward the bottom of this email.
Eby’s Pines Campground
14583 State Road 120
Bristol, IN 46507
Phone: (574) 848-4583
Join us on Friday and Saturday evenings in the Shady Lane area of the campground as we gather around the campfire and enjoy s’mores. We have reserved the Island Pavilion all day Saturday, where everyone is invited join us for a picnic lunch at 11:30am—we will provide hot dogs, chips, cookies, and bottled water—followed by a group photo at 12:45pm. The rest of the time will be unscheduled for swimming, games, crafts with kids, and—most importantly—having fun with old friends and making new ones!
Cost of Participation
There is no registration cost for the campout! You will need to pay for your campsite (at Eby’s Pines) or local hotel accommodations. If staying at a hotel, day passes are required to park at Eby’s Pines—for more details, see Question #4 in the list of “FAQ” (see below).
Whether you are camping at Eby’s Pines, staying at a nearby hotel, or visiting just for the picnic on Saturday, July 29, please contact Alice Ambrose to let her know the number of people coming with you. You may call or text her at (616) 406-7857, or e-mail her at [email protected].
To make your campsite reservation, please call Eby’s Pines at (574) 848-4583. Please call 2 – 9 pm on Sundays OR 9 am – 9 pm on Mondays, Tuesdays, or Wednesdays. Ask for Teresa, who will be eager to help you! Call Eby’s Pines as soon as possible, especially if you prefer a specific site (for example, in the Shady Lane area, where Alice and Brad will be) or type of accommodation (such as a camping cabin).
If you are interested in coming but don’t want to camp, there are several nice hotels within a short drive from Eby’s Pines. The nearest hotel is Hampton Inn & Suites in Middlebury, IN (phone (574) 822-0288). Additional hotel information for Shipshewana, IN, can be found at: http://www.Shipshewana.com
Frequently Asked Questions about the GLC campout:
Q1: Who can attend the campout?
A: Anyone of any age, adults and children, living with bladder exstrophy, cloacal exstrophy, cloaca, epispadias and hypospadias are invited to attend, along with their immediate families, extended families, and friends! Also, you don’t need to live in a “Great Lakes” state. (Campers have come from as nearby as Middlebury, IN, and as far away as Washington, Massachusetts, and Ontario, Canada!) Since our first campout in 2009 we have seen more and more families attend—ranging from 20 to 30 families—and the ages of those with exstrophy have ranged from toddler age to adults in our 50’s!
Q2: What is the typical schedule of events for the weekend of the campout?
A: On the evenings of Friday (July 28) and Saturday (July 29) we are planning a campfire at one of our group’s campsites along Shady Lane. On Saturday, from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm, everyone is invited to the Island Pavilion for games, crafts, and conversation. Starting at 11:30 am on Saturday, join us at the Island Pavilion for a picnic lunch followed by a group photo at 12:45 pm. Apart from these activities, the rest of the time is unscheduled so that everyone can enjoy the campground facilities and nearby attractions as they so choose. (Note: You are welcome to arrive a day or two early and/or stay an extra day or two after the weekend, as some families have done in the past. That way, the campout can be part of a longer vacation and you can visit even more with other families who do the same!)
Q3: What can we bring to the picnic lunch on Saturday?
A: Whatever you would like—but please don’t feel obliged to bring anything! We will provide hot dogs (including skinless hot dogs and gluten-free buns), chips, cookies, and bottled water, as well as plates, plastic ware, and napkins.
Q4: We are inexperienced and/or unexcited when it comes to camping, whether in tents or RVs. Must our family “camp out” to come to the campout?
A: That’s okay, you do not need to camp to attend the campout! Several nice hotels are located a short drive from Eby’s Pines. Our recommendation is Hampton Inn & Suites in Middlebury, IN (see above for details). Unfortunately we cannot offer any camping equipment to borrow.
If you plan to stay in a local hotel, please be aware that visitors to Eby’s Pines must register at the campground office upon arrival and obtain a day pass in order to use the pool, playground, and other campground facilities. (Please call Eby’s Pines directly at 574-848-4583 for 2023 day pass fees.) However, if you plan to visit Eby’s Pines forjust Saturday, July 29 then, upon registering at the campground office, tell the staff person you are joining the “Ambrose group” at the Island Pavilion. Your Saturday day pass should then be free of charge.
Q5: Are there scholarships or other financial help available to cover travel costs for the campout?
A: Unfortunately not at this time. The cost of the Saturday picnic lunch and renting the Island Pavilion for that day has been paid for out-of-pocket by the campout coordinators. Over the past few years we (Alice and her husband Brad) had received donations (for example, from doctors with whom Alice used to work) that helped offset some of these costs. However, we do not receive financial support from A-BE-C, despite being affiliated with them.
Q6: I wish there were a campout closer to me!
A: There can be! All that is needed is one person or family to serve as a point of contact, select a date and site, and get the word out. (Exstrophy-related Facebook groups have been great for free publicity!) Alice has experience coordinating regional campouts both here and in Washington state, so please feel free to contact her if you would like more details or suggestions on getting started!
The Great Lakes Chapter of The A-BE-C is a regional network serving the Great Lakes states (MI, MN, WI, IL, IN, NY, PA, and OH) as well as Ontario. Did you know… that there are support groups on Facebook for exstrophy patients and their families? Please contact Alice Ambrose (email her at [email protected]) to get connected. There are specific private groups as well as a general group for exstrophy patients and families.