Greater Waterbury Campership Fund Update: Camp fund donors believe in its mission

WATERBURY — Many loyal supporters of the Greater Waterbury Campership Fund remain regular donors to the cause because of the values and life lessons they believe that can be instilled through summertime fun at an outdoor camp.

Denis O’Sullivan, a professional engineering consultant from Watertown, and his wife Rita are among those who fall into that category of caring for children who could use a break or two.

“We recognized the importance that it had for our children,” said Denis O’Sullivan on camping experiences, “and how it is important for children of other families to get out to camp in the summer.”

The O’Sullivans made a generous contribution of $350 to the 2021 campaign that is off and running, although it won’t begin officially for a few months yet, when a target goal will be established. Donations have reached $53,614 in fewer than three weeks.

“We support it and will continue to support it, and hope other people will too,” O’Sullivan said. “It’s a good way to keep kids active.”

The coronavirus pandemic that broke out late last winter resulted in 72 underprivileged kids from Greater Waterbury taking part in the camping program, at a cost of $36,646 for tuition. A normal year usually has more than 450 children heading out to weeklong adventures at participating facilities throughout the state.

Nevertheless, the Campership Fund took in $208,778 for the scaled-down 2020 camping season, leaving a healthy balance that will be applied to the new campaign in various ways by the fund’s all-volunteer board of directors.

The Campership Fund, a 501(c) 3, is mandated to adhere to guidelines of no salaries for the board and no expenses, with every penny raised going to the cost of sending children to camp.

Enthusiastic individuals, large and small businesses, civic groups and church organizations, schools and clubs and philanthropic entities come together each year to provide financial resources so the programming can continue unabated as it has done the past 51 years.

Families who receive SNAP benefits or meet federal poverty guidelines, and with children ages 5 to 18, living in Bethlehem, Cheshire, Middlebury, Prospect, Southbury, Thomaston, Waterbury, Watertown, Wolcott and Woodbury, are eligible to apply.

The United Way of Greater Waterbury oversees the application, screening and eligibility processes for the Campership Fund.

• Donations to the Campership Fund are accepted year round. Contributions may be sent to Greater Waterbury Campership Fund, 389 Meadow St., Waterbury, CT 06722.
• Donations recently received for $950 included:
• Vincent and Santina Capece, Watertown, $500
• Denis O’Sullivan, P.E., LLC, Watertown, $350
• Roy and Lorraine Langlais, Thomaston, in memory of Bill McEntee, $100