www.wvgazettemail.com Gazette-Mail Charities http://www.wvgazettemail.com Gazette archive feed en-us Copyright 2017, Charleston Newspapers, Charleston, WV Newspapers As camp fund drive ends, Gazette-Mail readers raise nearly $30,000 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20170608/GZ0104/170609625 GZ0104 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20170608/GZ0104/170609625 Thu, 8 Jun 2017 16:58:02 -0400 Staff report By Staff report Once again, Gazette-Mail readers have come through for local children who might not have been able to attend camp this summer.

Today marks the official close of this year's Send-A-Child-To-Camp Fund, and for the second straight year, nearly $30,000 in donations will help pay for children to have life-changing experiences this summer.

On behalf of those children, we at the Gazette-Mail thank you.

Camps run by organizations including the Buckskin Council Boy Scouts, the Tri-County YMCA, Camp Kismet, the YWCA Mel Wolf Child Development Center, the Appalachian Reading Center, the Norman Jordan African American Arts & Heritage Academy, the Ohio-West Virginia Youth Leadership Association, the United Way of Central West Virginia's Regional Teen Institute, Kanawha County 4-H and the Southern Appalachian Labor School are beneficiaries of this year's fund drive - but the real beneficiaries are the children who will get to attend those camps.

If you forgot or didn't have time to send in your donation, you can still send it to Gazette-Mail Charities, 1001 Virginia St. E., Charleston, WV 25301, and the money will be applied to a future fund drive.

This week's givers are listed below, followed by a list of everyone who donated during this year's fund drive:

Jay J. Wildt, in honor of Rick Rickstaff and Camp Horseshoe, $25

Mary Anne Michael, $100

Myrtle O'Dell, in memory of John, $50

James R. Rappold, in memory of Chuck Cochran and Joe Hutchison - first directors of the National Youth Science Camp, $50

Mr. and Mrs. Stephen Parkins, $25

Jack Rogers, in memory of Annie Catherine and Hugh H. Rogers, $250

Anonymous, in memory of camping fun, $500

Sadie A. Ashworth, in honor of family, $50

Anonymous, in honor of Mary Jean Davis, $50

Lottie Skiles, in memory of Eddie, $50

Andrea Houston, in memory of Will Smith, $25

Flora Francis, in memory of Bud Francis, $50

Sharon Chambers, in memory of Frank Chambers, $50

Anonymous, in honor of Cheryl and Ken Dolan, $200

Nancy and John Braillier, $100

Norma McDowell, in memory of Mafalda Wheeler, $25

Mary Stanley, in honor of Abigail, Lydia and Lee, $200

Kathy and Dale Mobley, in honor of Aiden and Peyton, $50

Thelma Spencer, $100

Sally and Charlie Love, in honor of our grandchildren, $200

James Wilmoth, $50

Mr. and Mrs. A.J. Selario, $100

Anspach Law, on behalf of employees at Anspach Law, $200

Annette R. Ferrell, in honor of all children, $100

Patricia S. Nelson, $50

Anonymous (combined): $1,395

Weekly total: $4,045.00

Grand total: $29,544.67

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James A. Haught, $200

Frank D'Abreo and LaRee Naviaux, in memory of our parents, $200

Kanawha City Lions, $1,500

Robert Connelly, in honor of Georgette Connelly, $200

Barbara Murray, $200

Earl and Barbara Brown, in memory of Laura Thomason, $300

Doug and Bonnie Fisher, $100

Larry Levak, $100

Craig and Sue Selby, $250

Marie Oxley, in memory of Bill Oxley, $100

Anonymous, in honor of Kerri Wade, $100

Dr. and Mrs. Daniel W. Taylor, in memory of Ed and Mary P. Taylor, $100

Ms. Kathryn Stone, in memory of Elizabeth Sue Miller, $100

Dr. William L. Harris, in honor of my wife, Ann Harris, who conquered breast cancer and fights rheumatoid arthritis every day; and is still the best camper I know, $200

Mildred Rector, in memory of Jim Rector, $30

John Doyle, in honor of Camp Kismet and "The Fayette County Volunteers," $25

Vicki Broce, in memory of Don Broce, $50

Linda T. Troutman, $100

Anonymous, in memory of Betty Daws Baier, $100

Mary Harden, in memory of Mom, $100

Florence Frostick, $100

Dianna L. Wood, in honor of retired and current Kanawha County teachers, $50

Rick and Teresa Enochs, in memory of Mitzi White and John Brady Enochs, $25

Mr. Artwalk, $100

Anonymous, in memory of James Ode Loy, $105

Sandra Mundy, in memory of Mary E. (Jackie) Mundy, my mother, $200

Mary Jo Hansen, in honor of all foster kids, $100

Ron and Ramona Lockwood, in honor of our granddaughter, Caroline, $100

Anonymous, in memory of Harold R. Fix, $100

Anonymous, in memory of Virginia B. Myers, $100

Lorena Ammar, in memory of Mary Ammar, $100

Sharon B. Anthony, $50

Kemp Littlepage McElwee, in memory of Collett Smith, $100

Marion Baer, in memory of Frank Baer II, $100

Libby Finster, for Mother's Day, in memory of Virginia Mullins Dotson, $10

Karen Brimhall, in memory of my parents, who always sent me to summer camp, $100

Jan Barton, in memory of Mary Lib Groff, $200

Anonymous, in memory of John C. Steven, $150

Mrs. Rose Marie Fratino, in memory of my husband, $100

R. Juanita Ong, in memory of deceased family members, $50

William L. Duvall, $100

Steve and Amy Golden, $250

Sue and Ed Baldwin, in honor of Madison, Jaxson and Maddox, $50

Anonymous, in memory of Bruce Bartlett, Will Cooke, Matt Poffenbarger and Collett Smith, $100

Fay Jack, in memory of Kenny Jack, $25

James Dotson, $50

Gary and Anna Belle Gillespie, $100

Dolores Smith, in memory of David, $40

Diane and Paul Wallace, in memory of Phyllis Turley and Doris Smith, $200

Dina Luby, in memory of Bernard Luby, $50

Anonymous, in memory of Helen, $150.00

Louise Fawcett, in memory of Jeff, $50

Helen Chilton and Larry Schneider, $200

John P. Owen, $50

Anonymous, in memory of times past, $100

Steve Ledahawsky, $150

Eva L. Moore, in memory of Zula Rutledge, $25

Elizabeth E. Chilton, in memory of her parents and W.E. Chilton III, $500

Steve and Shelia Snodgrass, $100

Barb Gessner, in honor of Betty and Marian, $30

Santalee Williams, in honor of my grandchildren, $50

Mrs. M.S. Pelurie, in memory of B.L. and Mimi, $600

Terry Johnson, in memory of Ruth and Bob Johnson, $50

Eloise Boggs, $100

Mary Louise Welch, in memory of Carl E. Welch, $100

Julia Weese, in memory of Oreo and Sheba, $50

Leslie N. Johnson, $100

Fred Ferri, $50

Joel Metz, $20

Ellie and Mark Schaul, $100

Glenn R. Goldfarb M.D., $100

Randy and Chris Curtis, $100

Rick and Kitty Comer, in memory of Raymond S. White, $100

Nelson N. Spencer, in memory of Marie Spencer, $100

Betty Lashley, in memory of Phillip Wolford, $50

Tom and Kay Poole, in honor of "all the campers," $100

Les and Dina Duncan, for the love of children, $100

Dee Ann White, in memory of Jennifer Lynn White, $25

Rich and Wilma Naseef, in honor of William and Charlie, $100

Carl Hostler, in memory of Bertha Hostler, $100

Pam and Bill Harvit, in memory of Harold Harvit and Ruth Pugh, $1,000.

Jack and Joy Rossi, in memory of our parents, $250

Anonymous, in memory of Tim McKinney, $10

Anonymous, in memory of Ed, Polly and Quinnie, $200

Anonymous, in memory and in honor of Dave Ong, $200

Rob Byers and Tara Tuckwiller, $100

Our Gang Haircare, $200

Susan B. Orders, $100

Dorothy Dye, $30

Elizabeth S. Johnson, in memory of Howard Johnson, $100

Norma Shuck Levy, in honor of teacher: Leah Ann Guthrie, $100

Anonymous, in memory of Lance N. Powers, $100

Anonymous, in memory of 1960's 4-H camps, $25

Anonymous, in memory and in honor of Jesus Christ, $50

Katherine Hastings, $50

Pennie and Allen Price, $50

Anonymous, in honor of our grandchildren, $100

Suzie, Ziggy and Oreo, $20.17

Betty Caplan, $50

Children of Kanawha Salines Presbyterian Church, $86

Anonymous, in memory of "Abe" Phillips, $50

Anonymous, in memory of Charles and Patty, $25

Patrick Miller, in memory of Tara, $25

Lisa McCracken, in memory of Girl Scout Camps Wheelgate and Anne Bailey, $100

Anonymous, in honor of the grandkids

Gail Flegal, $100

Jim Smith, in memory of Doris Smith and Tommy Smith, $200

Anonymous, in memory of Tommy Smith, $75

George and Annette Cipriani, in honor of Kristin and Kara, $50

Sandra K. Matheny, $100

Candace Strader, in honor of all campers, $50

Barbara Givens, in memory of James Givens, $50

Elaine Lett, in honor of "Happy Kids," $100

Mr. and Mrs. Tim DiPiero, $500

Anonymous, in memory of James E. Hackett, $10

Sue A. Watts, in memory of family, $100

St. Peter's United Methodist Church, Ruth Aitken Circle, in memory of Helen Smathers and Clara Patterson, $100

Mr. and Mrs. Richard E. Nolan, in honor of campers, $100

Margaret Workman, in memory of Lindsay Elizabeth Gardner, $100

Stan Cavendish, in memory of Larry and Larna Cavendish, $100

Anonymous, in memory of Winifred and Betty, $50

Anonymous, in memory of Mark F. Trowbridge, $200

Anonymous, in memory of Alma Carr, $35

Oshel and Joanna Craigo, $100

Alice Khoury, in memory of my husband, Bashar Khoury, $100

Rod Moore, one day camp, one leadership camp -- in memory of Wendell S. Moore, $42.50

Barbara Beury McCallum, in memory of Lawton H. Beury, $100

Gerald Brennan, $100

Connie Stewart, $100

Park Chapman, in memory of MCC, $50

Richard Miller, in memory of Harold E. Lanham, $500

Jack Goldfarb, $25

Alpha Lambda Master Chapter of Beta Sigma Phi Sorority, $75

Dr. John N. Simpson, $250

Carol P. Folden, in memory of my beloved husband, Coach Jay Folden, $100

Ann Moody-Calwell, in memory of Juliette Low - Girl Scout Foundation, $100

Anonymous, in honor of my five wonderful grandsons, $75

Jill Osborne Todd, in memory of Terry and Harry Siers, $100

Anonymous, in memory of David Stanley, $25

Ann C. Patterson, in memory of Judy Keller, $100

Sally Snyder, in memory of Oralee Niebet Kieffer, $50

Paypal Charitable Giving Fund, $101

Alan and Carol Kuhlman, $50

Dawn Miller and Greg Moore, $100

Jay and Camille Arceneaux, in honor of Michelle Proops, $200

Mary Leslie Morton, in memory of John Morton, $20

Julia Morton, $20

Barbara Morton, $20

John T. and Kathleen A. Burke, $400

Eleanor L. Byrnes, in memory of Charles Carte, $50

Frances Smith, in memory of Jerry Smith, $20

Debora Mattingly, $50

Jack and Janet Durbin, in memory of Kenny Durbin, $25

Anonymous (combined): $8,345

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Fund to send kids to camp reaches $25K; time grows short to reach $30K goal http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20170601/GZ0104/170609958 GZ0104 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20170601/GZ0104/170609958 Thu, 1 Jun 2017 17:20:26 -0400 The calendar might not agree that it's summer, but with Memorial Day come and gone, many people are in the summer mindset.

Gazette-Mail readers remain in the giving mindset, as well, with nearly $3,000 contributed to the Send-A-Child-To-Camp Fund over this holiday week.

That brings this year's total up over $25,000, meaning hundreds of children who might have missed out on a summer camp experience will get to attend and make lifelong memories.

We're still shy of last year's mark of nearly $30,000, and time is running short. If you haven't donated yet, please consider doing so.

Here's the list of this week's donors:

Park Chapman, in memory of MCC, $50

Richard Miller, in memory of Harold E. Lanham, $500

Jack Goldfarb, $25

Alpha Lambda Master Chapter of Beta Sigma Phi Sorority, $75

Dr. John N. Simpson, $250

Carol P. Folden, in memory of my beloved husband, Coach Jay Folden, $100

Ann Moody-Calwell, in memory of Juliette Low - Girl Scout Foundation, $100

Anonymous, in honor of my five wonderful grandsons, $75

Jill Osborne Todd, in memory of Terry and Harry Siers, $100

Anonymous, in memory of David Stanley, $25

Ann C. Patterson, in memory of Judy Keller, $100

Sally Snyder, in memory of Oralee Niebet Kieffer, $50

Paypal Charitable Giving Fund, $101

Alan and Carol Kuhlman, $50

Dawn Miller and Greg Moore, $100

Jay and Camille Arceneaux, in honor of Michelle Proops, $200

Mary Leslie Morton, in memory of John Morton, $20

Julia Morton, $20

Barbara Morton, $20

John T. and Kathleen A. Burke, $400

Eleanor L. Byrnes, in memory of Charles Carte, $50

Frances Smith, in memory of Jerry Smith, $20

Debora Mattingly, $50

Jack and Janet Durbin, in memory of Kenny Durbin, $25

Anonymous (combined): $320

Weekly total: $2,826

Grand total: $25,499.67

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Week 4 Camp Fund List http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20170525/GZ0104/170529723 GZ0104 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20170525/GZ0104/170529723 Thu, 25 May 2017 17:37:01 -0400 "In memory of Girl Scout Camps Wheelgate and Anne Bailey": That's how Lisa McCracken individualized her donation to the Gazette-Mail's Send-a-Child-to-Camp Fund.

"That's where I really learned and understood those leadership skills that I use to this day," said McCracken, who spent two weeks at the Girl Scout camps every summer. "When you all do your camp drive ... I know how important that can be, and I hope that some other people get that same experience."

For the week heading into the Memorial Day weekend, Gazette-Mail readers donated more than $4,600, bringing the total for this year's fundraising drive over $22,600. There's still time to contribute to meet last year's total of nearly $30,000.

You can donate using the coupon in today's newspaper, or visit wvgazettemail.com online and click on the Send-a-Child-to-Camp Fund logo.

Here's a list of this week's donations:

Suzie, Ziggy and Oreo, $20.17

Betty Caplan, $50

Children of Kanawha Salines Presbyterian Church, $86

Anonymous, in memory of "Abe" Phillips, $50

Anonymous, in memory of Charles and Patty, $25

Patrick Miller, in memory of Tara, $25

Lisa McCracken, in memory of Girl Scout Camps Wheelgate and Anne Bailey, $100

Anonymous, in honor of the grandkids

Gail Flegal, $100

Jim Smith, in memory of Doris Smith and Tommy Smith, $200

Anonymous, in memory of Tommy Smith, $75

George and Annette Cipriani, in honor of Kristin and Kara, $50

Sandra K. Matheny, $100

Candace Strader, in honor of all campers, $50

Barbara Givens, in memory of James Givens, $50

Elaine Lett, in honor of "Happy Kids," $100

Mr. and Mrs. Tim DiPiero, $500

Anonymous, in memory of James E. Hackett, $10

Sue A. Watts, in memory of family, $100

St. Peter's United Methodist Church, Ruth Aitken Circle, in memory of Helen Smathers and Clara Patterson, $100

Mr. and Mrs. Richard E. Nolan, in honor of campers, $100

Margaret Workman, in memory of Lindsay Elizabeth Gardner, $100

Stan Cavendish, in memory of Larry and Larna Cavendish, $100

Anonymous, in memory of Winifred and Betty, $50

Anonymous, in memory of Mark F. Trowbridge, $200

Anonymous, in memory of Alma Carr, $35

Oshel and Joanna Craigo, $100

Alice Khoury, in memory of my husband, Bashar Khoury, $100

Rod Moore, one day camp, one leadership camp -- in memory of Wendell S. Moore, $42.50

Barbara Beury McCallum, in memory of Lawton H. Beury, $100

Gerald Brennan, $100

Connie Stewart, $100

Anonymous (combined): $1,635

Weekly total: $4,653.67

Grand total: $22,673.67

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Send-A-Child-to-Camp fund donations climb over $18,000 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20170518/GZ0104/170519556 GZ0104 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20170518/GZ0104/170519556 Thu, 18 May 2017 15:46:41 -0400 Staff report By Staff report Teachers, parents, grandparents, children and grandchildren: They've all been honored by those who have donated so far to this year's Gazette-Mail Send-A-Child-To-Camp Fund.

Also included in this week's list of donations is $100 from Tom and Kay Poole, in honor of "all the campers."

In an effort to add more names to the list of campers, more than $18,000 has been donated by Gazette-Mail readers so far - and there's still time to reach last year's total of nearly $30,000. If you haven't helped out yet, please consider doing so. Look for the donation coupon in today's paper. You also can donate online, by going to wvgazettemail.com and clicking on the Send-A-Child-To-Camp logo.

Here's a list of this week's donors:

Eva L. Moore, in memory of Zula Rutledge, $25

Elizabeth Chilton, in memory of her family, $500

Steve and Shelia Snodgrass, $100

Barb Gessner, in honor of Betty and Marian, $30

Santalee Williams, in honor of my grandchildren, $50

Mrs. M.S. Pelurie, in memory of B.L. and Mimi, $600

Terry Johnson, in memory of Ruth and Bob Johnson, $50

Eloise Boggs, $100

Mary Louise Welch, in memory of Carl E. Welch, $100

Julia Weese, in memory of Oreo and Sheba, $50

Leslie N. Johnson, $100

Fred Ferri, $50

Joel Metz, $20

Ellie and Mark Schaul, $100

Glenn R. Goldfarb M.D., $100

Randy and Chris Curtis, $100

Rick and Kitty Comer, in memory of Raymond S. White, $100

Nelson N. Spencer, in memory of Marie Spencer, $100

Betty Lashley, in memory of Phillip Wolford, $50

Tom and Kay Poole, in honor of "all the campers," $100

Les and Dina Duncan, for the love of children, $100

Dee Ann White, in memory of Jennifer Lynn White, $25

Rich and Wilma Naseef, in honor of William and Charlie, $100

Carl Hostler, in memory of Bertha Hostler, $100

Pam and Bill Harvit, in memory of Harold Harvit and Ruth Pugh, $1,000.

Jack and Joy Rossi, in memory of our parents, $250

Anonymous, in memory of Tim McKinney, $10

Anonymous, in memory of Ed, Polly and Quinnie, $200

Anonymous, in memory and in honor of Dave Ong, $200

Rob Byers and Tara Tuckwiller, $100

Our Gang Haircare, $200

Susan B. Orders, $100

Dorothy Dye, $30

Elizabeth S. Johnson, in memory of Howard Johnson, $100

Norma Shuck Levy, in honor of teacher: Leah Ann Guthrie, $100

Anonymous, in memory of Lance N. Powers, $100

Anonymous, in memory of 1960's 4-H camps, $25

Anonymous, in memory and in honor of Jesus Christ, $50

Katherine Hastings, $50

Pennie and Allen Price, $50

Anonymous, in honor of our grandchildren, $100

Anonymous (combined): $1,420

Weekly total: $6,835

Grand total: $18,020

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Buckskin Council seeks support for summer camp's scholarship fund http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20170515/GZ0104/170519712 GZ0104 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20170515/GZ0104/170519712 Mon, 15 May 2017 17:17:05 -0400 Rick Steelhammer By Rick Steelhammer The Buckskin Council of the Boy Scouts of America is hoping to find enough donors willing to do good deeds to fund nearly 300 partial scholarships needed to make sure its summer camping program will be available to all deserving Scouts, regardless of family income, throughout the 29-county council area.

The camp is one of several being helped by this year's Gazette-Mail Send-A-Child-To-Camp Fund.

This year's summer camping program includes a pair of week-long Boy Scout Summer Camps at Camp Arrowhead, near Ona, and at the Summit Bechtel Reserve, near Mount Hope; day camps for Cub Scouts at Kanawha County's Coonskin Park, Hurricane City Park, Fayette County Park and Camp Arrowhead; twilight camps for Cub Scouts at Poca Hunting and Fishing Club in Putnam County, at Little Beaver State Park in Raleigh County, and at the Pineville Little League field in Wyoming County.

Overnight camps for Cub Scouts will take place at Camp Chief Logan, near Chapmanville, and at the partially decommissioned Buckskin Council Camp near Dunmore, in Pocahontas County.

Summer 2017 will be the first in decades not to include week-long summer camps for Boy Scouts at the Buckskin Council Camp, known informally as Dilley's Mill, which is being mothballed and transitioning to a primitive camping-only site after several years of operating losses and mounting deferred maintenance needs, due mainly to a national trend toward declining enrollment in the Scouting program.

However, several traditions developed at Dilley's Mill will be incorporated at this year's Camp Arrowhead Boy Scout summer camp, including a Cast Iron Chef program, a Duct Tape Challenge and a Tomahawk Throw, to blend with such Camp Arrowhead traditions as a Polar Bear Swim, Pool-a-Palooza and an Iron Troop Challenge.

Merit badge programs in kayaking and aviation, which includes an airplane ride, weather permitting, also will be available this summer at Camp Arrowhead, as will an ATV program.

The Bechtel Scouting Reserve's week-long Boy Scout camp includes many merit badge offerings, ranging from astronomy and archery to rowing and rifle shooting, and activities including rock climbing, rappelling, stand-up paddleboarding, kayaking, fly-fishing and mountain biking.

New this year will be a free day camp offered at the H. Bernard Wehrle Sr. Scout Leadership Center, near Charleston's Daniel Boone Roadside Park, in which Cub Scouts and Cub Scout-age boys not enrolled in the program will take part in STEM programming and technology experiential learning activities. Transportation between Charleston and the new Scout center will be provided.

"If you were to ask any of our campers the favorite part of camp, you would get as many answers as the number of participants you asked," said David Leckie of the Buckskin Council staff. "Camp is an experience unlike anything else our Scouts have participated in. Many will catch their first fish, build their first fire or spend their first night away from home. All of these experiences strengthen the independence of the Scout and teach many life skills in communication, teamwork and accountability."

This year, the Buckskin Council plans to provide 75 partial scholarships to week-long Boy Scout campers at $112.50 each; 50 scholarships of $22.50 each for Cub Scout day campers; 20 scholarships of $37.50 for Cub Scout overnight campers, and 100 scholarships of $20 each to support the new day camp at the H. Bernard Wehrle Sr. Scout Leadership Center.

The Boy Scout summer camping program "is the highlight of the year for may of our Scouts," Leckie said. "We ask that you consider supporting one Scout for a life-changing experience at camp."

The Gazette-Mail Charities Send-A-Child-To-Camp Fund is gathering donations from generous readers to help children attend the Buckskin Council of the Boy Scouts of America's summer camping program and other youth summer camps. To help, fill out the donation coupon in today's newspaper or visit wvgazettemail.com and click on the Send-A-Child-To-Camp Fund logo.

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Summer Accent program helps grow confidence http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20170514/GZ0104/170519741 GZ0104 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20170514/GZ0104/170519741 Sun, 14 May 2017 18:16:14 -0400 Kate White By Kate White When 10-year-old Anthony went to live with his grandmother last summer, he had been through a lot.

After being removed from his mother's home and transitioning to living with his grandmother, Anthony seemed withdrawn, his grandmother told organizers of the Summer Accent program, a camp sponsored by the Southern Appalachian Labor School.

It wasn't long after Anthony began the program that he started becoming his usual self. He was playing with other children and participating in daily activities.

When his time at the camp came to an end, Anthony's grandmother had tears in her eyes when she thanked staff for working with her grandson.

Staff with the Summer Accent program say that, because of the opioid epidemic, they are seeing more and more children like Anthony, who have been removed from their homes and placed with a relative or in foster care.

The program helps children from rural and low-income families regain confidence by providing stability in their lives. Something as small as children being served daily meals over the summer break makes a big difference when they're used to getting that at school but might not at home.

The program also helps grow children's confidence by preventing what's commonly called, the "summer slide," said John David, director of the Southern Appalachian Labor School. The term refers to a child's learning being put on hold during summer break. Many children are at risk of losing knowledge they gained during the school year, according to David.

William, for example, was forced to repeat his third grade year, last year, due to his reading skills, or lack of.

His grandmother signed him up for Summer Accent and, at first, William was embarrassed to read aloud when called on.

As weeks passed, though, he improved and by the end of the program, William was reading at a fourth grade level.

David expects about 50 children to attend the program this summer, but because it's geared toward those from low-income families, children need your help in order to attend.

The Gazette-Mail Charities Send-a-Child-to-Camp Fund is gathering donations from generous readers to help children attend the Summer Accent program and others like it. To give, fill out the donation coupon below or go to wvgazettemail.com and click on the camp fund logo.

Reach Kate White at kate.white@wvgazettemail.com, 304-348-1724 or follow @KateLWhite on Twitter.

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Camp fund donations surpass $11K; many more kids need help http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20170511/GZ0104/170519893 GZ0104 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20170511/GZ0104/170519893 Thu, 11 May 2017 16:33:42 -0400 "In memory of my parents, who always sent me to summer camp," reads a dedication from Karen Brimhall, who is included in today's list of donors to the Gazette-Mail Send-A-Child-To-Camp Fund.

It's a simple but very telling statement that describes what the camp fund is all about -experiences that last a lifetime.

Adults who attended camp as children can look back on the benefits that those trips provided. And through the camp fund, they can help make those experiences happen for children who might not otherwise be able to afford to attend.

Now finishing its second week, this year's camp fund has raised more than $11,000 from generous Gazette-Mail readers. But there are many more kids who need a hand if they're going to have a summer camp experience this year.

If you've been considering a donation to the fund, please take the time to fill out and mail the donation coupon on Page 7A of today's newspaper. Or, to give online, go to wvgazettemail.com/charities.

Here's a list of this week's donors:

n Florence Frostick, $100

n Dianna L. Wood, in honor of retired and current Kanawha County teachers, $50

n Rick and Teresa Enochs, in memory of Mitzi White and John Brady Enochs, $25

n Mr. Artwalk, $100

n Anonymous, in memory of James Ode Loy, $105

n Sandra Mundy, in memory of Mary E. (Jackie) Mundy, my mother, $200

n Mary Jo Hansen, in honor of all foster kids, $100

n Ron and Ramona Lockwood, in honor of our granddaughter, Caroline, $100

n Anonymous, in memory of Harold R. Fix, $100

n Anonymous, in memory of Virginia B. Myers, $100

n Lorena Ammar, in memory of Mary Ammar, $100

n Sharon B. Anthony, $50

n Kemp Littlepage McElwee, in memory of Collett Smith, $100

n Marion Baer, in memory of Frank Baer II, $100

n Libby Finster, for Mother's Day, in memory of Virginia Mullins Dotson, $10

n Karen Brimhall, in memory of my parents, who always sent me to summer camp, $100

n Jan Barton, in memory of Mary Lib Groff, $200

n Anonymous, in memory of John C. Steven, $150

n Mrs. Rose Marie Fratino, in memory of my husband, $100

n R. Juanita Ong, in memory of deceased family members, $50

n William L. Duvall, $100

n Steve and Amy Golden, $250

n Sue and Ed Baldwin, in honor of Madison, Jaxson and Maddox, $50

n Anonymous, in memory of Bruce Bartlett, Will Cooke, Matt Poffenbarger and Collett Smith, $100

n Fay Jack, in memory of Kenny Jack, $25

n James Dotson, $50

n Gary and Anna Belle Gillespie, $100

n Dolores Smith, in memory of David, $40

n Diane and Paul Wallace, in memory of Phyllis Turley and Doris Smith, $200

n Dina Luby, in memory of Bernard Luby, $50

n Anonymous, in memory of Helen, $150

n Louise Fawcett, in memory of Jeff, $50

n Helen Chilton and Larry Schneider, $200

n John P. Owen, $50

n Anonymous, in memory of times past, $100

n Steve Ledahawsky, $150

n Anonymous (combined): $2,825

Weekly total: $6,380

Grand total, so far: $11,185

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Governor's Youth Opportunity Camp a 'safe haven' for low-income kids http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20170510/GZ0104/170519965 GZ0104 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20170510/GZ0104/170519965 Wed, 10 May 2017 16:47:41 -0400 Kayla Asbury By Kayla Asbury A Tucker County summer camp is offering 350 low-income children the opportunity to live in family cabins, learn life skills and play outside this summer.

The Governor's Youth Opportunity Camp at Camp Horseshoe, located 12 miles northeast of Parsons, is a “safe haven” for low-income children ages 7 to 12, said Alicia Ridenour, administrative manager for the Ohio-West Virginia Youth Leadership Association.

“Youth opportunity camps are to sponsor low-income kids to give them a week of 'here's what out here,' ” said Doug Wetsch, the district director of the Ohio-West Virginia YLA. “Plus it gives mom and dad a break. It's a week of supplemental education.”

The Youth Opportunity Camp is sponsored by the Ohio-West Virginia YLA and runs at the same time as an adventure camp at Camp Horseshoe, mixing low-income children with those that are able to pay full price.

“[Children] know they will be loved, fed [and] allowed to have fun all while learning basic life skills from proper hygiene, table manners, sharing, cleaning up their cabin area and other social skills many do not get at home,” Ridenour said in a brochure provided by Camp Horseshoe.

The camps will take place during the month of July in four one-week sessions. Each session will host 120 to 150 campers. Children will live in family cabins units and are encouraged to participate in outdoor activities.

Activities such as swimming, fishing, crafts, creek exploration, fossil-hunting and drama are popular among campers, Wetsch said.

“Some of the Charleston kids have never lived in nature,” Wetsch said. “We give them the opportunity to explore.”

Camp counselors are treated as “parent figures” at YOC, and provide campers with “the most memorable week these campers have ever had,” Ridenour said in the brochure.

“We can provide one week of a real meal three times a day, nurturing care, listening ears and a true safe place for a child that may not receive those at home,” said Hannah Gibson, a camp counselor from Fraziers Bottom, in the brochure.

The adventure camp welcomes children from every states, but YOC is only for in-state, low-income children.

“This place was not at all what I expected it to be,” said Nicole Hughes, a camp counselor from Chicago, in the brochure provided by the camp. “I thought it was just like any other summer camp, but it is actually a refuge for some kids who have a difficult home life.”

More than 90 percent of children better understood the importance of exercise, washing their hands, brushing their teeth and eating healthy balanced meals after attending YOC at Camp Horseshoe, according to an exit survey given by the camp.

For more information about YOC at Camp Horseshoe, visit http://yla-youthleadership.org/ or call 304-478-2481.

The Send-A-Child-To-Camp Fund is accepting donations from readers to send children to YOC at Camp Horseshoe and camps like it. To help to send a child to camp, click here to donate.

Reach Kayla Asbury at kayla.asbury@wvgazettemail.com, 304-348-5100 or follow @kasbury_ on Twitter.

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Kanawha County 4-H camp teaches kids life skills http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20170509/GZ01/170509582 GZ01 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20170509/GZ01/170509582 Tue, 9 May 2017 21:00:02 -0400 Max Garland By Max Garland The skills learned at the Kanawha County 4-H Residential Camp help lay the foundation for a successful future, all in just five days.

"You're learning every day," said Sherry Swint, the Kanawha County 4-H agent who directs the camp. "It's a great way to live in the moment, to not think about pressures outside the camp. You really become a part of a group."

Participants of the camp, located at Charleston's Camp Virgil Tate, can enjoy a variety of classes, including archery, cooking and science, foster responsibility and meet new friends.

Activities are varied. The most popular include council circle, a campfire program and a scavenger hunt. Specific classes, such as fishing, cooking, STEM, discussion, shooting sports and crafts also are popular. Campers enjoy the collaboration, leadership development and open environment that are a part of these classes, Swint said.

The camp runs June 5-9 for children 13 years and older, and June 12-16 for children ages 9-13. It is open to any child in or outside Kanawha County and a 4-H membership is not required. The staff is comprised of vetted 4-H volunteers and staff who aim to provide a safe, inclusive environment for campers, Swint said.

A visit to the camp can greatly improve a child's confidence, Swint said. She recalled the transformation of a Kanawha County middle school student who took part in the camp last year.

Before her time at camp, the student was bullied at school - so much so that her family considered pulling her from public school and sending her to a private school instead.

But the girl built valuable relationships through the camp, and returned to school with a newfound sense of confidence to handle bullying and other challenges. She no longer was picked on, as she had been the previous school year, and became more independent.

"Camp is the great equalizer," Swint said. "You're on the same schedule, you're all in shorts, you're all off your phones. You come out of it saying, 'My character is much stronger. I'm going to stand up to them.' "

The majority of children have had similarly positive experiences at the Kanawha County 4-H Residential Camp. More than 61 percent of campers indicated they wanted to be more involved in 4-H, and several wanted to maintain their newfound friendships or apply what they learned to their everyday lives, Swint said.

Some children might want the opportunity to go to 4-H camp but do not have the means to do so. They can be helped through the Gazette-Mail Charities Send-A-Child-To-Camp Fund. The camp hopes to fund 35 partial scholarships this year.

To help send a child to the Kanawha County 4-H Residential Camp, fill out the donation coupon in today's paper. Those interested in donating online can go to wvgazettemail.com and click on the camp fund logo.

Reach Max Garland at max.garland@wvgazettemail.com, 304-348-4886 or follow @MaxGarlandTypes on Twitter.

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Teen institute camp builds leaders http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20170508/GZ01/170509637 GZ01 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20170508/GZ01/170509637 Mon, 8 May 2017 17:06:25 -0400 Anna Taylor By Anna Taylor Known as T.I., the Adolescent Health Initiative at United Way of Central West Virginia's Regional Teen Institute is a summer camp made to build leaders.

"We see kids grow," camp co-director Margo Friend said. "All of a sudden, you see it click in their eyes. They know how to help people, they know what to do and they know how to build healthy relationships."

The week-long camp, which takes place June 14-17, gives students who have just completed sixth, seventh or eighth grade in Kanawha, Putnam, Boone and Clay counties a chance to get away, unplug and get to know others just like them, Friend said. It's a way to build leaders around prevention of alcohol, tobacco, drugs, violence and other critical decisions teens face every day.

"This is for any student who wants to become a leader and help them stay out of making bad decisions," Friend said. "For some, this becomes their family because they don't have a good home life."

T.I. is located at Rippling Waters Church of God Campground, near Sissonville.

With leadership and prevention workshops, activities and games like basketball, swimming and crafts, the camp allows students to build friendships and mentors. As a ninth-grader, teens who have past experience with the camp may come back as youth staff members, Friend said.

Many of the teens who attend the camps build lifelong friendships, not just with other teens, but with the adults and staff members.

"These kids not only need friends, but they also need adults who want to see them succeed and do well," she said.

Deena Ellison's grandson attended T.I. He struggled with anxiety and lacked much confidence, she said. He had lived in 12 places and had attended nine schools.

"He was anxious. He didn't want to go anywhere unless my husband was there," Ellison wrote in an email. "He was always afraid something was going to change and he wouldn't be with us."

Ellison found a connection for him through T.I., and he now plans his summer breaks around attending.

"The first year ... he was a stoic teenager, not much emotion," she said. "He was angry and he had been hurt, so he was quick to judge and slow to forgive. A few days later, I came to observe my staff person and almost didn't recognize his smiling face, yes smiling, laughing, cutting up."

Ellison, who is an adult volunteer at the camp, said everyone fits in, no one is looked down on and everyone participates.

"Family groups bond. Cabin groups become brothers," she said. "It doesn't matter what town you live in, what county you are from or what school you go to. It doesn't matter if you are tall or short or fat or dark or light. You are accepted."

Friend said the teens are encouraged to join their local Students Against Destructive Decisions chapter, to help them stay active and continue prevention from bad decisions and behavior.

This year marks 21 years of T.I.

For more information about the camp, visit youthmakeadifference.com or email Friend at mfriend@unitedwaycwv.org.

The Gazette-Mail Charities Send-A-Child-To-Camp Fund is gathering donations from generous readers to help children attend the Regional Teen Institute and other camps like it.

To help fill out the donation coupon in this newspaper or go online to wvgazettemail.com and click on the Send-A-Child-To-Camp Fund logo.

Reach Anna Taylor at anna.taylor@wvgazettemail.com, 304-348-4881 or follow @byannataylor on Twitter.

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Academy teaches arts disciplines, historical ties http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20170507/GZ0104/170509675 GZ0104 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20170507/GZ0104/170509675 Sun, 7 May 2017 18:32:47 -0400 Jake Jarvis By Jake Jarvis The world has changed significantly since the Norman Jordan African American Arts & Heritage Academy first opened its doors 32 years ago.

The camp started as a way to introduce students to the importance of artistic contributions of African-Americans to culture at a time when many of those contributions were overlooked in the classroom.

Even though more of those contributions are recognized today, Brucella Jordan, the executive director of the camp said its still important for students to continue to learn.

"A lot of what comes from American history is rooted from African-American history and art forms, especially jazz and the blues and the musical traditions," Jordan said. "Sometimes children may be aware of them, but they don't know the contributions African-Americans have made. This is to fill a void students aren't getting elsewhere."

A majority of the students who attend the camp are African-American, but Jordan said children from all ethnic backgrounds attend the camp each year.

For a week in July, students from across the state travel to the West Virginia University campus to attend the camp. When they arrive, they choose one of several disciplines to study for a week. Students can choose from instrumental music, vocal music, dance, theater visual arts and songwriting.

"They get extensive in learning how to perform that discipline as well as learning the historical ties that are associated with it," Jordan said.

Throughout the week, students take several field trips, and the week concludes with a final showcase of their hard work.

"We see great improvements in our students even after just one week," Jordan said. "We have many who come back year after year. Usually they are more expressive and they understand more about the artistic discipline."

Jordan said several of the students come to camp shy and unwilling to open up. She remembers one 13-year-old girl from Beckley who was shy and considering leaving the camp after only two days.

"She had a hard time fitting in," Jordan recalled.

Counselors at the camp convinced her to stay.

"In a couple of days, she loved it so much she didn't want to go home," Jordan said. "She came back the next year, and the next year and the next year until she was 18 years old. She tried different disciplines each time she came, and she ended up being and outstanding student in her high school. You could tell each year she was more expressive and open."

Another student, from the Charleston area came to the camp with a physical disability that limited how he could move. Jordan said he didn't think he would be able to participate in the final showcase, but a camp instructor created a character he was physically able to perform, Jordan said.

Donations from Gazette-Mail readers to the Send-A-Child-To-Camp Fund help provide kids with scholarships to attend area summer camps like Norman Jordan African American Arts & Heritage Academy.

Because many of the children who attend this camp come from low-income families, the fund is hoping to fund 20 partial scholarships for the camp. Each partial scholarship is $150, so it will cost $3,000 to fully be funded.

To donate, readers can fill out the donation coupon in this newspaper or go online to wvgazettemail.com and click on the camp fund logo.

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Early Send-a-Child-to-Camp donations near $5,000 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20170504/GZ0104/170509806 GZ0104 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20170504/GZ0104/170509806 Thu, 4 May 2017 17:08:25 -0400 Although temperatures are cooling down, Gazette-Mail readers' generosity is heating up in the early days of this year's Send-a-Child-to-Camp Fund drive.

Since the start of this year's drive at the beginning of the week, readers have donated nearly $5,000 to help kids experience summer camp - kids who might otherwise never gain those treasured memories.

Memorial Day weekend, the unofficial start of summer, is just a few weeks away. Last year's drive raised nearly $30,000, so there's still a ways to go.

You can donate by using the coupon on Page 7A of today's newspaper, or going online to wvgazettemail.com and clicking on the Send-a-Child-to-Camp Fund logo.

A list of the week's donors is below:

nnn

James A. Haught, $200

Frank D'Abreo and LaRee Naviaux, in memory of our parents, $200

Kanawha City Lions, $1,500

Robert Connelly, in honor of Georgette Connelly, $200

Barbara Murray, $200

Earl and Barbara Brown, in memory of Laura Thomason, $300

Doug and Bonnie Fisher, $100

Larry Levak, $100

Craig and Sue Selby, $250

Marie Oxley, in memory of Bill Oxley, $100

Anonymous, in honor of Kerri Wade, $100

Dr. and Mrs. Daniel W. Taylor, in memory of Ed and Mary P. Taylor, $100

Ms. Kathryn Stone, in memory of Elizabeth Sue Miller, $100

Dr. William L. Harris, in honor of my wife, Ann Harris, who conquered breast cancer and fights rheumatoid arthritis every day; and is still the best camper I know, $200

Mildred Rector, in memory of Jim Rector, $30

John Doyle, in honor of Camp Kismet and "The Fayette County Volunteers," $25

Vicki Broce, in memory of Don Broce, $50

Linda T. Troutman, $100

Anonymous, in memory of Betty Daws Baier, $100

Mary Harden, in memory of Mom, $100

Total anonymous: $750

Week 1 total: $4,805

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Camp High-Tor seeks to empower kids 'to do what's right' http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20170503/GZ0104/170509857 GZ0104 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20170503/GZ0104/170509857 Wed, 3 May 2017 16:36:49 -0400 Carlee Lammers By Carlee Lammers For many kids, Camp High-Tor is a safe place.

It's where they've learned to swim, it's where they've made strong friendships and it's where they've gained stronger emotional and social skills - sometimes when they might not have the chance to otherwise.

Camp High-Tor, a 10-week day camp in Hurricane hosted by the Tri-County YMCA, is one of the camps supported by the Gazette-Mail Charities Send-a-Child-to-Camp Fund this year.

The camp, which is for children from kindergarten to age 17, will focus on "standing strong on your own core values even if it goes against what's popular," according to Angel Anderson, the family services director at the Tri-County YMCA.

"It's so easy to get caught up in what everybody else is doing and going with the flow even when it's wrong. ... We're teaching them about having the strength to do what's right," she said. "An area that most children are lacking in is social and emotional skills."

Each week of the camp has a different theme - including love your #selfie, school's out for summer, and super heroes - that all relate back to the main theme of staying true to yourself, she said.

Children do not have to come to camp every week, Anderson said many children are registered for only one or two weeks, while others come for the entire summer. Last year 350 children attended Camp High-Tor.

Each day at Camp High-Tor is filled with nature activities, sports, recreation, STEM activities, swimming and fun lessons from Putnam County school teachers to help prevent summer learning loss.

This year, students will also learn Spanish and American Sign Language at Camp High-Tor.

For some campers, the week they spend at Camp High-Tor can be life changing.

A camper in the second and third grade group attended the camp last year. The camper's grandparents have custody of him during the school year out of the area and he spends a few weeks with his mother in the area during the summer.

"Since he did not go to school in our area, he did not have friends attending camp. He had issues with his temper and kept getting into fights," Anderson said.

After one "outburst" a Camp High-Tor counselor took the time to sit with the camper, hear his story and teach him about his power over his choices.

"[The counselor] talked to him about the fact that although he feels powerless, he ultimately has all the power over his choices. She told him he can choose to stay calm and look to his counselors for help," Anderson said.

Although he struggled at first, Camp High-Tor provided the camper with a safe place to make changes and grow stronger emotionally and socially. Anderson said the camper eventually made behavior adjustments, as well as friendships with other campers that will last a lifetime.

"Our focus starts with social and emotional development Be a friend, conflict resolution skills, reasoning skills," Anderson said. "We have the time take them aside and talk them about 'Why is this happening?' and things like 'What choice can you make here instead of arguing and getting upset and what choice can you make so everybody wins?' "

Anderson said she recently heard a statistic that one in four children in the state live in a home that is food insecure. Because of that, Anderson said it is important to the camp's staff to serve a hot lunch and two nutritional snacks each day.

The Tri-County YMCA works to ensure students of all abilities, financial situations and backgrounds have the chance to attend Camp High-Tor.

Anderson said another camper returned to Camp High-Tor last year. Near the time of camp in 2015, the young camper's father had passed away.

He returned again in 2016 and instantly bonded to one of the counselors.

"He wanted to swim in the deep end with the other kids so bad, but wouldn't take the swim test because he didn't know how to swim. I hardly ever swim," the counselor said. "That summer one of the lifeguards and I worked so hard with him any by the middle of the summer he was swimming like a champ in the deep end. I am so thankful I had the opportunity to help teach him. I think kids continue to come back because camp is - just like it is to us - their safe place."

The Gazette-Mail Charities Send-a-Child-to-Camp Fund is gathering donations from generous readers to help children attend Camp High-Tor and others like it.

To give to the Gazette-Mail Charities Send-a-Child-to-Camp Fund, click here.

Reach Carlee Lammers at Carlee.Lammers@wvgazettemail.com, 304-348-1230 or follow @CarleeLammers on Twitter.

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YWCA's Mel Wolf center gives kids chances to explore http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20170503/GZ0104/170509919 GZ0104 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20170503/GZ0104/170509919 Wed, 3 May 2017 00:01:00 -0400 Ali Schmitz By Ali Schmitz One local summer camp program gives Charleston kids a chance to explore West Virginia.

About 30 children will participate in the camp at YWCA's Mel Wolf Child Development Center in downtown Charleston.

The camp provides kids with a safe place to stay during the summer. Without the program, many of them would stay home alone, the program's director, Jenna Elmore, said.

The camp, which is one of the camps supported by the Gazette-Mail Charities Send-a-Child-to-Camp Fund, provides children, some who have never been outside of Charleston, with a chance to get out and see more of West Virginia. Campers take trips to various locations, including touring Hawk's Nest with a park ranger and learning about state history at places like Blennerhassett Island, near Parkersburg, and the Heritage Farm Museum, in Huntington.

"They're just amazed by these open areas where they can run and play games," Elmore said. "It's exciting to watch them experience these new activities."

Kids often return to the camp year after year, reuniting with friends every summer.

Sometimes, new children come to Mel Wolf. Counselors work together to find activities that benefit those students.

One of those kids last summer was 10-year-old Zach. He was nervous during his first days at the camp. As the other kids socialized, he watched from afar.

Zach was new to the Charleston area. He had been living with his grandparents in another part of the state while his mother attended a drug rehabilitation program.

His mother hoped the program would help her son make friends before school started. She also hoped it would help his social and emotional development after years away from his mother.

Counselors soon discovered that he loved sports, but struggled to play well with others, lashing out at friends if someone made a mistake. They soon realized Zach was harboring unresolved feelings about past experiences.

A counselor stepped back, creating role-playing exercises so the children could understand not to use hurtful words and how to better react to situations. Initially, Zach didn't want to play along, but he eventually joined in. Elmore said the experience helped all of the kids learn how to practice self-control.

By the end of the summer, Zach told a counselor how much he had enjoyed Mel Wolf, and had made friends he would attend school with in the fall.

Elmore said the program is important because it helps children like Zach grow and learn. Every year, staff members watch children like him open up.

"We're making sure they know what the world has to offer them," Elmore said.

Most of the families served by Mel Wolf are low-income. Without donations, their children wouldn't be able to attend camp. Donations to the Gazette-Mail Charities camp fund are used to help with the cost of field trips for the campers, including transportation to excursions.

Donating is easy. Just look for the donation coupon in today's newspaper or, to give online, go to wvgazettemail.com and click on the Camp Fund logo.

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Appalachian Reading Center helps dyslexic children http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20170501/GZ0104/170509970 GZ0104 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20170501/GZ0104/170509970 Mon, 1 May 2017 16:38:19 -0400 Jake Zuckerman By Jake Zuckerman Not everyone learns to read via Dr. Seuss.

While most public schools introduce students to reading through the likes of Seuss, Shel Silverstein, Maurice Sendak and other childhood favorites, the Appalachian Reading Center in South Charleston helps dyslexic children understand the English language by drilling down on its simplest elements and ensuring mastery of one subject before advancing to the next.

The center's director, Lori Dubrawka, said her students learn to read through books that start with basic rhymes - cat, fat, hat, pat - and can spend as much as a year on them before moving on to the next.

"The kids we see here understand it's not a quick fix, and they come here for between two and four years," she said. "They come in, usually either failing or having been held back in school, and after they're here, they're some of the best readers in their class."

Although some people understand dyslexia as a condition that causes people to see text backward or inverted, Dubrawka said it's more complex. She said the reality is that dyslexic children don't have a hold of the grammatical and syntactical rules that hold the language together, although some text "reversals" do occur.

The reading center operates on a pay-what-you-can basis, and it raises funds to cover the rest, to ensure dyslexic children receive the help they need.

This summer, the center is participating in this newspaper's Gazette-Mail Charities Send-A-Child-To-Camp fund. The Academic Tune-Up Camp will last 8 weeks, and the center is hoping to raise $50 for each of the 14 children it will subsidize through the program.

Dubrawka said donating to the camp is a means of investing in West Virginia and the potential of its students.

"In terms of investing in West Virginia and our community, this is one of the best things you can do, in terms of saving kids from ending up in special education and never getting out of it," she said. "Investing in them saves taxpayer money, and it saves kids' lives."

The camp's success stories range from 8-year-old Markie (who will return this summer) learning all the letters of the alphabet, printing his name and reading for the first time, to an alumni of the program who made it from the ARC all the way to Harvard University, where she currently studies.

"This is life-changing for the kids," Dubrawka said. "We don't take kids just for enrichment, we have the kids who have been failing in school for years. It is life-changing for all of them."

To donate to the Send-A-Child-To-Camp Fund, readers can find donation coupons in today's newspaper or click the Camp Fund logo at wvgazettemail.com.

Reach Jake Zuckerman at jake.zuckerman@wvgazettemail.com, 304-348-4814 or follow @jake_zuckerman on Twitter.

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Camp Kismet brings unattainable experiences to Fayette kids http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20170430/GZ0104/170439983 GZ0104 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20170430/GZ0104/170439983 Sun, 30 Apr 2017 16:13:03 -0400 Giuseppe Sabella By Giuseppe Sabella A week of camping is only the beginning for children and families at Camp Kismet.

Kelly Murdock, the camp's director, first became involved with the camp in 1984. Since then, she said she has watched thousands of campers form lasting memories and relationships.

Even after the last camp of the season is over, Kismet staff holds ongoing events to keep in touch with the campers, Murdock said.

"They're families that we've become friends with, and we like to see how they're doing during the year," she said.

Camp Kismet hosts children between the ages of 7 to 12 who qualify for free or reduced meals at school. The camp is one of several supported this year by the Gazette-Mail Charities Send-A-Child-To-Camp Fund.

About 50 campers arrive at Fayette County 4-H Park after breakfast on a Monday and leave Friday after dinner. The time in between is filled with activities both small and large.

Along with camp classics such as swimming, dancing and crafting, Camp Kismet tries to bring otherwise unattainable experiences into the children's lives.

One of the camp's past highlights is a visit from the Air Evac Lifeteam, which lands a helicopter at the camp and lets the kids get inside.

"It's something they couldn't do ordinarily because they wouldn't have the money to do it," Murdock said.

She said Camp Kismet is part of West Virginia's Summer Food Service Program, which reimburses camps for up to three meals a day, according to the Department of Education website.

No child at Camp Kismet has ever gone hungry, Murdock said, and the campers are often sent home with food.

"They're always asking if they can take food home to their family," she said.

Michelle O'Dell has five daughters, and each attended Camp Kismet for several years.

An upcoming camp will be the last for one of her daughters, who will soon be outside the age requirement.

"When it comes to an end, it's a very emotional experience for them because they probably won't see most of the people that they've met, and especially the volunteers," O'Dell said.

Still, her family always takes the opportunity to reconnect with campers and staff at events throughout the year.

She said the recent camp sign-up included activities, pizza and the opportunity for kids to receive a physical.

Other yearly events often include a back-to-school swim party where the children receive school supplies and a Christmas event that allows each child to spend $20 at Wal-Mart.

"I'm grateful the kids got to experience something so different, especially in our area," O'Dell said.

Donations from Gazette-Mail readers to the Send-A-Child-To-Camp Fund help provide kids with scholarships to attend area summer camps like Camp Kismet.

Donating is easy. Just look for the donation coupon in today's newspaper, or to give online, go to wvgazettemail.com and click on the Camp Fund logo.

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Gazette-Mail fund aims to send kids to camp http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20170429/GZ0104/170429520 GZ0104 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20170429/GZ0104/170429520 Sat, 29 Apr 2017 15:45:44 -0400 Staff reports By Staff reports For many Charleston Gazette-Mail readers, memories of childhood summers are intertwined with trips to summer camp.

Starting this week, for the 21st year, the Send-A-Child-To-Camp Fund directed by Gazette-Mail Charities will help local kids gain some of those same memories - kids who might otherwise not have the chance to go to camp.

During last year's fundraising drive, generous readers donated nearly $30,000 to send children to summer camp. Over the past two decades, the fund has helped enrich the lives of more than 10,000 kids.

On Monday, you'll hear the first of several stories about the camps that benefit from the Send-A-Child-To-Camp Fund, and the children whose lives have been bettered by their experiences there.

We hope that encourages Gazette-Mail readers to donate to this year's fund, to give more children similar memories.

To donate to the Send-A-Child-To-Camp Fund, click here.

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