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He has a lot to offer the world

A fifth year veteran at Camp Woodchuck, Tanner Crum is a familiar face to almost everyone at Woodchuck. His liveliness never fails to bring a smile to someone’s face when he asks “what did you have for dinner last night?” “Tanner has really come into his own, he is more confident with people he does not really know,” said his mother, Gina. “He loves to ask everyone he meets what he had they had for dinner the night before and what they are doing.”

Tanner has Fragile X syndrome, ADHD, Mental retardation, and learning disabilities, but none of this has held him back from being the extremely cheerful and active child he is. Tanner is 15 years old and is turning 16 in August, right before he begins his junior year at Northwest High School. At Northwest, Tanner participates in the Bear Buddies program, where he plays on the soccer and basketball team, even earning a varsity letter this past year.

Outside of camp, Tanner loves hanging out with his family, which includes his mother, father, whom he calls “Dear”, grandma Linda and papa Larry, his cousin Jayden, and his aunt Trina. “Tanner’s grandpa Larry bought him his 1st guitar at the age of 2. The first night he had it, he wanted to take it to bed with him,” said Gina. With this guitar and his karaoke machine, you can find Tanner singing along to the Beatles at home in front of the mirror. Every summer, Tanner enjoys going to Branson, Missouri for vacation with his family. “He loves to swim and stay at the Chateau on the Lake.  Tanner loves to shop at the outlet malls, and eat at Laundry’s Seafood, and the Cheesecake Factory,” said Gina.

Recently, Tanner has found a new passion. With his mother’s new membership to Planet Fitness, Tanner not only stays active playing soccer and running around outside at Camp Woodchuck, but he also tags along with his mom each night to the gym. “He loves to go every day. He runs on the treadmill everyday for about 20 minutes a day.  He is always happy to go, and has a great time,” Gina added.

“Tanner is a very easy going kid with a lot to offer the world”, his mother said. Loved by many, Tanner always has a smile on his face and is eager to say hello to friends walking past his room at Camp. If you ever meet Tanner, be prepared to remember what you had for dinner and if you will be going to the gym that night.

On the day of his Camp Graduation, A Letter from Tanner’s Mom:

Tanner first got started with Camp Woodchuck when he was 10 or 11. He started the summer of his 7th grade year. This year, Tanner graduated from Camp Woodchuck, taking so many memories and experiences with him into his adult life.

Tanner loves the program, enjoys the interaction with the staff and other kids. He has grown a lot since starting. He is extremely social and loves the staff, and the staff definitely love him, too!

The last three summers we have had camp at home and he really enjoys the one-on-one interaction with the great ladies who come and spend time with him. He definitely keeps them busy and entertained.

They have all learned his likes and dislikes, and they all made sure that he had JAM time every day. If they did not like the Beatles before, I am sure they are singing them in their heads by now. They have taken him around town and done Zumba with him, visited McConnell Air Force Base, Exploration Place and many splash pads.

Over the last year Tanner also had the opportunity to participate in some special things for Rainbows. His picture was featured in Rainbows’ 50th birthday party campaign, and he put his hand print on the Keeper On Parade statue that is on display Kids’ Point.

We will truly miss everyone that has been a HUGE part of our lives for the last 11+ years. For our family, Rainbows has been a blessing in our lives and in his. We are so grateful for all the people that helped with Tanner and all the friends he has made!


Gina, Robert and Tanner