How We Got Started
Dr. Larry Oakley began working at the Nevada Mental Health Institute in 1973 as an Education Specialist. At that time there was a limited outdoor program at the Clear Creek Camp near Carson City for the residents at the Institute.
The following year the Institute and the YMCA combined for a camping program at Loadstar Camp near Jackson, California. Dr Oakley was an associate director of the camp but realized that the program was still limited and staffing consisted of YMCA employees who had very little training or experience. He proposed to take control of the camping program because he felt that this population would benefit from a wider variety of activities such as swimming, arts and crafts, hiking, exposure to music and dance, etc. This type of camp would provide the campers with opportunities to experience the outdoors and to learn social skills outside of their normal environment.
In 1975 Dr. Oakley directed the first Camp Lotsafun at the Camp Fire Girls facility, Galena Creek, Nevada, which was was funded by the Max C. Fleishman Foundation. It was mostly attended by the residents of the Sierra Regional Center housed on the grounds of the Nevada Mental Health Institute in Reno.
In the following years Camp Lotsafun was held at the State 4-H camp at Stateline, Nevada. The program was then opened to Nevada and California residents serving ages 7 to 70.
In 1979 the Max C. Fleishman Foundation gave notice that they were closing. This prompted Dr. Oakley and others to apply for 501(c) 3 non-profit status which was approved in 1980 under the name of “Special Recreation Services, Inc,” which Camp Lotsafun operates under to this day.”