GREENSBORO, N.C. — Camp Weaver in Greensboro served 1,200 kids last summer, including 200 who attended through scholarships under the camp’s “Turn no child away” policy.
Helping to support those scholarships, which total $60,000 and enable kids to attend camp whose families otherwise could not afford to send them, is an annual “Send a kid to camp” campaign that last year raised roughly $25,000.
The camp, which is a program of YMCA of Greensboro and covers the difference in the cost of the scholarships and the funds it raises in the annual campaign, has raised roughly $155,000 in the seven years it has run the annual fundraising effort.
This year, for the first time, Camp Weaver is expanding the campaign by turning to the general public.
“A goal of this campaign is to bring in the public and raise more money so we don’t endanger the bottom line of the camp and so we have more money for maintaining facilities and adding activities,” says Jamie Cosson, the camp’s executive director.
Chaired by Pam Burgess, a client services associate at Grey Oak Wealth Management, the campaign aims to raise $30,000.
The campaign will kick off with a luncheon Feb. 3 at the O.Henry Hotel that will feature testimonials from parents and kids who have benefited from the scholarships. It also will include the sale of items from Silpada Jewelry, which will donate part of the proceeds to the scholarship campaign.
Camp Weaver, which operates with an annual budget of $850,000 and a staff of five people working full-time and another 50 who work in the summer, offers 10 one-week sessions during the summer.
During the rest of the year, when it employs some additional people part-time, it serves roughly 10,000 people for activities as retreats and school outings.
The camp, which receives about $90,000 from United Way of Greater Greensboro, generates most of its revenue through fees, although it operates with an annual deficit of about $35,000, an amount covered by the YMCA.
Cosson, who was a camper in his native Australia before becoming a counselor at Y camps in the U.S., says the scholarship program is critical to give low-income kids a chance to attend camp.
“The kids that come normally don’t have any exposure to activities like this,” he says. “The greatest thing is being away from home and being around older counselors they can look up to. It makes a big difference in their lives. And research shows this helps kids in school, and the ability to make friends, and they could be from all cultures and levels of income.”
Getting a chance at camp to find role models and make friends, he says, “can absolutely make a difference in a child’s life.”