One of the first things you’ll notice about Stephen visually is that he is in a wheelchair and has Cerebral Palsy, CP. Then you’ll get to know him as a person and you’ll see how little CP defines who he is. Stephen not only lives with disability, but thrives and wants to ensure that others have the same opportunity.
Stephen started the Wampler Foundation in 2002 with his wife, Elizabeth, so that children with disabilities could be active participants in programs and activities that are centered around the great outdoors. They have since enabled thousands of kids with physical disabilities and often economic limitations to experience the joys and camaraderie of camp and the experiences that push each child to discover how capable they really are and to expect only big things ahead.
Stephen and Elizabeth have big plans to expand their youth programs nationwide and internationally in order to help more kids lead full and ambitious lives, despite physical obstacles. Stephen knew he needed to do something to lead by example to show the world what he could do as a person with CP, to become a role model to others with disabilities. Stephen’s favorite Quote is from the US Navy Seals, “Failure is not an option.” Stephen followed this motto when he was the first person to climb the biggest rock face in the world, El Captain mountain in Yosemite National Park. Wampler’s Ascent is a documentary about Stephen Wampler and his amazing accomplishment of being the first person with Cerebral Palsy to climb El Captain mountain. As a demonstration of the mission of the foundation and an opportunity to bring international awareness in sending children with disabilities to the same summer camp Stephen attended when he was an adolescent. The Wamplers documented, “Wampler’s Ascent” and his heroic climb, the film has received national and international acclaim with 35 laurel leafs and 20 film festival awards to date.