WATERBURY — Schools are out and it’s time for those youngsters who are primed for summertime fun at camp to get their vacations off to rollicking starts.
While the application numbers certainly were understandably down this year, Greater Waterbury Campership Fund has all tuition fees covered for the few dozen campers ready to enjoy their pandemic-altered experiences at participating camping facilities throughout the state.
Donations, meanwhile, continue to come in from generous businesses, individuals and philanthropic organizations to assure that the 2021 Campership Fund campaign will get off to a tremendous start through carryover funding from 2020.
Webster Bank is the latest community-minded institution to assist the current campaign, contributing $1,000 to the cause.
“Webster Bank supports organizations that serve the best interests of our communities while providing basic necessities that ensure individuals have the opportunity to live with dignity and pursue their dreams,” Kathryn Luria, senior vice president of community affairs at Webster, stated in an email. “While we can only imagine the challenges that our nonprofits are facing during this time, we know that through partnership, we will get through this together. We appreciate your commitment to the communities we serve.”
Neva Vigezzi of Waterbury, who has been with the state Commission on Human Rights for 43 years, has been a regular donor to the Campership Fund and last week made another $800 contribution.
“This year more than ever, children need an outlet,” she said. “A lot of them have been cooped up in the house and virtual learning is not all that it’s cracked up to be.”
Vegezzi said she is dismayed so many camps will not be opening this summer, and “we’ll have to see where we’ll be a month from now. Hopefully things will get better, especially for next year.”
In-hand contributions to the 2020 campaign have reached $108,129, but that number will increase dramatically through the Webster Bank donation, and pledged grants of $5,000 from Ion Bank Foundation and $40,000 from the David, Helen and Marian Woodward Fund, when all formally are received and deposited into the spending account.
That will bring the donation total to more than 93% of this year’s $165,000 target goal, with six months still to go.
The Campership Fund’s board of directors allocated $22,426 for tuition for the 42 youngsters who were deemed eligible before the June 15 application deadline was reached; there could be a few more add-ons.
Any unused funds will be carried over into 2021 and applied to next year’s summer camp season.
United Way of Greater Waterbury volunteers its professional services to screen applicants for eligibility. Families who receive SNAP benefits or meet federal poverty guidelines, and with children ages 5 to 18, in Bethlehem, Cheshire, Middlebury, Prospect, Southbury, Thomaston, Waterbury, Watertown, Wolcott and Woodbury, are eligible to apply for camperships.
Every penny raised by the Campership Fund, a 501(c)3, goes toward sending accepted applicants to camp.
Tuition payments totaling $157,457 paid for 434 children to attend camp during the Campership Fund’s 50th anniversary year in 2019.
Donations may be sent to Greater Waterbury Campership Fund, 389 Meadow St., Waterbury, CT 06722.
Regular donations totaling $2,200 received last week included:
• Ms. Neva Vigezzi, Waterbury, $800
• Torrco, Waterbury, $500
• Ms. Marcea Morgan, Waterbury, $350
• United Church of Christ-Southbury Missions, Southbury, $300
• Ms. Deborah D’Agostino, Watertown, in memory of my mom, $100
• Ms. Jeanne Sutherland, Naugatuck, $100
• Mr. and Mrs. Thomas and Katherine Upson, Waterbury, $50