Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Send a Kid to Camp

As many of you know, for the past six summers we've sent our daughter Katie away for a week to summer camp at YMCA Camp Hanes. It has become this wonderful ritual of scheduling and registration and packing and hugging and sending forth.

It is a week of swimming and hiking and arts and crafts and bugs. It is a week in which personal hygiene is highly questionable, but personal growth is assured. Because while it is swimming and hiking and fun and bugs, it is not.

It's a chance for my kid to become a leader, to find herself, to be completely independent in thought and action, without my influence. The lessons she learns in that week stick with her all year long. This year, she is looking forward to taking a 'rag challenge' - a goal she develops with her counselors and works on all year long. They stay in touch with her throughout the year, offering support and encouragement. Summer camp has, without question, made her a better person.

Which sounds ridiculous.

But this place is special.

Which sounds ridiculous.

But it is, it is special. The counselors are trained to the extent that they offer camps dedicated to children with autism, and diabetes, and special needs. There are kids from every background, of every color and creed, learning from each other and loving each other, guided by people who are dedicated to making sure that no child leaves that camp without knowing their value as a human being. Without believing they are special.

I never went to camp as a kid. But Camp Hanes has made me a believer in the importance of empowering my children. We budget and make allowances and figure out how to send Katie every year because we feel it makes a difference in her life.

But all that special comes with a price tag.

Camp Hanes provided financial assistance to approximately 500 kids last year through their Send a Kid to Camp campaign. They believe that every child should have the opportunity to learn and grow and experience all the wonderful things that they offer, and so do I. This year, I am pledging myself to help raise money to send some kids to camp, and I want you to join me.

I want SFC to send a kid to camp. I'd really like us to send TEN kids to camp. I've put a little button up on the top right of this page (if you're reading on a mobile device, you'll need to click the view on the web option). Clicking it will take you the donation page for Camp Hanes. There you can make a one time donation, or set up a recurring monthly donation ($57 a month for a year will send a kid to sleepaway camp for a week, $21 a month will send a kid to day camp for a week) . Make sure you designate "YMCA Camp Hanes".

Then, send me an email at southernfriedchildren@gmail.com and let me know what you did. I will send something AMAZING and AWESOME to you as a thank you, no matter the size of your donation. Because YOU are amazing and awesome, and so is this camp.

If you want to read more about Camp Hanes, and see some fun pictures and videos, check out their web page here. From their web page, about Send a Kid to Camp:

Through participation in the Annual Campaign, you can help YMCA Camp Hanes continue our more than 80 year camping tradition for future generations, insuring none are left out.
YMCA Camp Hanes partners with various groups so that we can affect the lives of Everyone, Everywhere. By doing so, we reach out to children who otherwise would not be able to experience Camp and offer them the opportunity to create lifelong memories.
    • Our partners for 2012 Resident camp include:
      • Camp Imagine and The Autism Society of ForsythCounty
      • The American Diabetes Association’s Camp Carolina Trails serving campers with diabetes.
      • US Army Reserve Child & Youth Services: We hosted children whose parents are in the U.S. Army Reserve.
      • The Youth Empowerment Support Services (Catholic Youth Services)
      • Omega Psi Phi: We partnered with the professional fraternity to host camp to instill discipline and pride in young African-American men.
 They are doing good things up there on that mountain; thank you for helping however you can.

*Note: I have not been compensated in any way for this post, and all opinions are my own. Well, they did give me a water bottle, but not to write this. It is a nice water bottle, though.

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