With school now out for most of Rogers County, it’s that time of year when many families are planning their summer activities.
Progress readers, once again, have the opportunity to give 45 local children the experience of summer camp through Share the Spirit Foundation’s Send a Kid to Camp program.
Campers will leave June 17 for Heart O’Hills Salvation Army Camp near Tahlequah. The cost per camper is $175, making this year’s goal $7,875.
Send a Kid to Camp is truly a community partnership.
The Salvation Army — Claremore Unit charters a bus to take the kids to Tahlequah, and provides clothing, bedding, shoes and other items they need to make the week unforgettable.
Pilot Club of Claremore provides “ditty bags” with shampoo, toothbrushes, toothpaste, soap, washcloths, hair brushes and combs.
Meghan Fisher, Jasmine Thorne and Hunter Faull are three camp “veterans.” This will be the second year for Meghan to attend camp and the third for Jasmine and Hunter.
They are all excited to go back once again.
Ten-year-old Meghan is looking forward to participating in the ropes course for the first time. She also enjoys getting to camp out.
“It’s just fun to get a few days away from my parents!,” she added, smiling.
Jasmine, age 11, has made lots of friends at camp and can’t wait to see them this summer.
One of her favorite activities is art class.
“I got an award last year,” she said. “I was just bringing out the designs in my mind and putting them on paper.”
But the very best part of the week, Jasmine said, is the food.
Besides the regular camp meals, the kids are treated to lunch at McDonald’s on the way down to Tahlequah. There is also a canteen where they can get a snack and drink each day.
Eleven-year-old Hunter said that swimming and paddle boating are things he’s most looking forward to when he returns to camp.
“I also really want to try the ropes course this year,” he said.
His mother, Wanda Faull, is thankful Hunter gets the opportunity to learn and grow at summer camp.
“Momma cried the first year!,” she said. “But he enjoys it so much and they take such good care of him that I’ve learned to cut the cord. I think it does them real good. It gives them a summer activity and the chance to do some things they might not get to do otherwise. I still hear about it a month after he comes home!”
While at camp they are busy with canoeing, fishing, mini-golf and a host of activities all day long. At night, there are the chapel services, along with movies and other special programs, even a talent show.
It’s a rare break not only from daily life, but also from the distractions of TV and electronics.
“We are very excited about this opportunity for our children,” said Gloria Conaway who coordinates camper eligibility along with Penny Burns. Both are school-based social workers with Rogers County DHS.
Share the Spirit has been working with DHS to send kids to camp since 1985.
“We are seeing second generations of children attend this camp,” Conaway said. “The camp experience is something they continue to reflect on even in adulthood.”
All money raised during the Send a Kid to Camp campaign is used for campers. Please send your tax-deductible donation to Share the Spirit, c/o Claremore Daily Progress, P.O. Box 248, Claremore, OK 74018, or drop it by the Progress office at 315 W. Will Rogers Blvd. Names of donors will be listed unless anonymity is requested.