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Camp Kismet provides more than fun to low-income children

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — For the children who attend Camp Kismet every summer, the week is more than games, songs and competition. For many, it’s the chance to swim for the first time or get a new pair of shoes.

Camp Kismet, held at Fayette County’s 4-H Park, hosts 105 children every year, many of whom come from low-income families. Camp director Mike Bone said Camp Kismet offers normal camping activities, including hiking, fishing, crafts, rafting and swimming, but even the meals the camp provides are a help to some of the children.

“One little boy came to the cafeteria to eat lunch on the Monday and asked if he was ‘allowed’ to eat,” Bone said. “I told him he could have whatever he wanted, and he just couldn’t seem to believe it. He then asked if he could somehow take some of the food to his parents, as they had none.

“Needless to say, at the end of the week, we sent him and his family home with plenty of food to last them a while.”

The camp provides new shoes and a backpack filled with school supplies to each child. According to Bone, the camp supplies are an integral part of the services Camp Kismet provides.

“I can guarantee that over half of these children come back to camp next year wearing the same shoes,” he said.

Camp Kismet hosts 105 children between the ages of 5 and 12, and attendance per child costs $50. It is one of the camps supported this year by Gazette Charities’ Send-a-Child-to-Camp Fund, which provides kids with scholarships to attend area summer camps.

The Gazette covers all administrative costs of the fund, and 100 percent of the donations received go toward helping send kids to camp.

Donating is easy to do. Look for the donation coupon in today’s paper and send your check to Gazette Charities, 1001 Virginia St. E., Charleston, WV 25301. Or, to give online, go to and click on the Camp Fund logo.

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