FLORISSANT, Mo. - At the Victory Volleyball Camp for kids with special needs, you can expect to learn the game, and you can expect to have fun; but one thing you'd never expect is that the camp was started by two 13-year-old girls.
"I feel every kid should be able to play sports like volleyball and basketball and other sports," said 13-year-old Samantha Eaker.
Eaker and Victoria Stuart call themselves "besties." A year ago they attended a volleyball camp together, but when they got home they were thinking about Sam's little sister.
"We got to go to camp but she didn't, and we didn't think it was fair," said Stuart.
Nine-year-old Olivia was born with Spina Bifida, a disorder of the spinal cord. She's faced many challenges. And she wasn't the only person they wanted to help.
"There's lot of kids like Olivia, so I feel like we're not just going to help Olivia, we're going to help all of the kids who are like Olivia," said Stuart.
Samantha and Victoria decided to start their own volleyball camp, which turned out to be easier said than done.
"So if a 12-year-old comes up to you and says, 'I'm going to make a camp,' you probably wouldn't believe them," said Stuart.
"She made me get involved, which is good," said Doug Stuart, Victoria's dad. "And that's when you know it was serious for them and became serious for me."
Over the next year, with help from their parents, the girls contacted coaches, sent out fliers, and secured the use of a gym. This past week, the Victory Volleyball Camp became a reality. Fourteen campers, all with special needs, had a special time becoming part of a team.
"It just feels like you're a family when you play volleyball," said Eaker.
As for Olivia, in addition to having a great time there was one added benefit.
"I think the best part was to meet new friends," she said.
Wisdom comes with age but you never know what age. It turns out for the kids at the Victory Volleyball Camp, 13 was a very lucky number.
To learn more about Victoria's volleyball camp, visit her website.