Tomorrow morning, 45 children will board a bus to Heart O’Hills Salvation Army camp in Tahlequah for a week of summer fun.
Since 1985, Progress readers having been providing this opportunity for local kids through Share the Spirit Foundation’s “Send a Kid to Camp” program.
This year, donations have been coming in slower than usual and a few thousand is still needed to reach the $7,875 goal.
The current total stands at $4,603. The Progress will continue to accept contributions until the total has been collected.
Sisters Leslie and Shyanne are among those kids who will benefit from the generosity of Progress readers.
“Swimming is the first thing on my mind,” 9-year-old Leslie grinned.
This will be the second year at camp for both girls.
“It was so fun,” she said about her first time. “I was in Omaha cabin and Lulu was my counselor. I hope I get Miss Lulu again. She was a good leader. She told us stories about the Lord and stuff.”
Shyanne is also excited to swim — and stay up late — at camp.
“I hope I get a cabin where we can stay up until 3 in the morning!,” the 11-year-old said.
They also mentioned the ropes course and go-carts are some of their favorite activities.
“You can go absolutely fast with those things,” Leslie said.
The girls, who attend Foyil Schools, are being raised by their grandparents, Chris and Glenda Hudson.
Chris proudly wears his “Grandpa” shirt that reads “Official Referee for Grandkids.”
He knows that camp is an important experience for Leslie and Shyanne.
“It gives them a chance to be with other kids their age,” he said, “and it keeps them out of trouble.”
He’s also looking forward to tackling a long to-do list while the girls are away.
Along with the “Send a Kid to Camp” donations which go toward the $175 per camper fee for lodging, meals, insurance and a canteen card to buy snacks and craft materials, other groups contribute to the program to make sure the kids have a comfortable, memorable camp experience.
The Salvation Army provides funds to purchase items the children need for their week away — everything from shorts and shoes to underwear and socks, even sleeping bags. Every child get a beach towel. The Pilot Club provides “ditty bags” with toiletries.
Camper eligibility is coordinated by DHS school-based social workers Gloria Conaway and Penny Burns.
Tax deductible donations in any amount are welcome and may be mailed to Share the Spirit, P.O. Box 248, Claremore, OK 74018, or dropped off at the Progress , 315 W. Will Rogers Blvd. between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Donor names will appear in the newspaper unless anonymity is requested.
Recent contributors include Mary Lee and Jack M. Spinks, Peggy Rice, Lorraine Garrison, and several anonymous donors.