Greater Waterbury Campership Update: Fund gives 69 needy kids summer camp experience

WATERBURY — With the camping season underway for a COVID-19 pandemic-altered summer run, the Greater Waterbury Campership Fund is sending 69 underprivileged children to camp this year.

The nonprofit’s volunteer board of directors voted to approve an additional allocation of $5,770 to cover tuition costs for 11 more campers, bringing the total number up to 69 at an overall cost of $36,936.

While the number of campers understandably is down significantly from the 434 last year who enjoyed camp, all tuition paid, they nevertheless will create lasting memories and life-changing experiences for these children.

“The directors and I are so happy that at least some children will be able to enjoy camp this summer. Earlier this spring, we worried it would not be possible,” said Anne Karolyi, president of the Campership Fund and managing editor of the Republican-American and Sunday Republican, which supports the charity. “It is one positive step toward overcoming this year’s challenges, and we’re grateful our friends of Campership have continued to support the effort, for this year and next.”

Some camp directors decided not to open this year. The latest breakdown of participating camps, and the number of charges they are taking in from the Campership Fund, includes Boys and Girls Club of Greater Waterbury, Summer Enrichment, three campers; Cheshire YMCA, Camp Quinnipiac, two campers and Camp Sloper, six; Environmental Learning Centers, Indian Rock Camp in Bristol, one; Greater Waterbury YMCA, Camp Mataucha in Watertown, 47; and Camp Summer Sunshine in Waterbury, 10.

The Campership Fund still will be left with $82,008 in the hopper for the current campaign, not counting a pledged contribution of $40,000 from the David, Helen and Marian Woodward Fund yet to be formally received and deposited. To date $119,044 has been raised for tuition expenses.

The target goal for Camperships this year is $165,000. Any unspent funds will be carried over into the 2021 campaign, assuring a good start for the next camping season.

The 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. Donations are accepted year round and come from large and small businesses, individuals, church and school groups, civic clubs, philanthropic organizations, and special events and collections.

Contributions may be sent to Greater Waterbury Campership Fund, 389 Meadow St., Waterbury, CT 06722.

Regular donations totaling $750 received last week included:
• Mr. and Mrs. Harold and Arlene Sullivan, Middlebury, $300
• Mr. Frank Travisano, Woodbury, in loving memory of Marie Ann Ponzillo from her husband, $200
• Ms. Janice Post, Naples, Fla., $150
• Golden Technology, Southbury, $100