Beamsville students show generosity for summer camp program

Wise Guys Charity Fund, along with a group of students from Beamsville District Secondary School have made a donation to FACS’ Niagara’s Summer Smiles program.

The Beamsville District students donated nearly 80 backpacks and bottles of sunscreen to the program, which provides local kids in need with an opportunity to go to summer camp.

Wise Guys donated an additional $6,000.

Ann Godfrey, foundation manager with FACS Niagara accepted the donations at Beamsville District on Friday.

“Number one we just want our kids to get away and have some fun and enriching experiences. Sometimes these families can be quite disadvantaged. They don’t really have the funds to send their kids to camp,” says

“I always like to say camp is a great equalizer. When everybody comes back after summer and you want to talk about ‘what did you do this summer?’, our kids will be able to say, ‘well, I went to camp.’”

Godfrey says the program partners with different organizations that offer camp programs around the region, such as the YMCA, Brock University, Rodman Hall or even cities and municipalities.

She says the camps offer programs for a wide range of ages, anywhere from four up to about 16.

The program is funded by a variety of community sponsors and donations.

Godfrey says FACS have a partnership with the YMCA, the Niagara Community Foundation and also with Jump Start, as well as a lot of community donations, including the Wise Guys and Beamsville District.

Anne Kemp, a volunteer with Wise Guys, says Wise Guys is “a bunch of guys that run around raising money within the community and then give it back to the community.

“It’s all volunteer and there’s no paid employees or anything like that. But it’s great. They do a great job. They’ve given away $2.7 million in the last 25 years.”

Kemp says there will be six events coming up, including boxing, the Wise Guys Golf Tournament and the Wise Girls Golf Tournament.

Godfrey says a day camp is typically around $150 per week, sleep away camps are typically around $500 per week and special needs camps around $1,000.

She says if anybody wants to donate to help send a kid to camp, they can go on the FACS website, Facebook or Twitter and get in contact with them.

“Camp is more than camp. I think it builds kids’ social skills, builds their leadership skills, their self-esteem. And again, they have fun.”

Last year, the Summer Smiles program sent 487 kids to various camps around the region.

hdavidson@postmedia.com

Source: St. Catharines Standard