Greater Waterbury Campership Fund Update: Donation evokes fond memories from the golf course

WATERBURY — Mary Minicucci, a resident of Elim Park in Cheshire, had a thoughtful idea for a donation to the Greater Waterbury Campership Fund this month that would evoke pleasant memories from the golf course.

Minicucci made a $200 contribution in memory of Francis “Moose” McCormack, who was a golfing buddy of the late Arnold Minicucci, the proverbial longtime “Merchant of Bank Street” purveyor of men’s clothing who died in June 2015. McCormack, 94, a successful paint salesman, died Jan. 1.

“We belonged to the golf courses and I would play with his wife, Dodo,” Mary Minicucci said, referring to McCormack’s widow Josephine. “I thought this would be a nice way to remember him and those times.”

The Minicucci family has a long association with the Campership Fund, annually making generous donations in June. The four Minicucci children, Carl, Jill, Julie and Robert, all enjoyed rewarding camping experiences growing up, including at the Greater Waterbury YMCA’s Camp Mataucha in Watertown.

“They had the best times,” Mary Minicucci said of her children. “We are always happy to help the Campership Fund.”

Donations for the 2021 campaign have reached $54,904. The program’s board of directors and legions of enthusiastic supporters was watching how the pandemic plays out over the course of the winter and spring, with hopes that more children will be able to attend than did so in 2020 because of shutdowns and COVID-19 concerns.

In 2020, the tuition bill was $34,386 for 60 kids who went to camp. During the much more normal 2019, $157,457 was spent on tuition for 434 underprivileged children.
Regardless of how many youthful applicants from Greater Waterbury become eligible for campership slots this summer, the board already has transferred $250,000 into the program’s Next 50 fund to cover tuition costs for this and subsequent years.

The Campership Fund is continuing to accept contributions of all amounts, however, to keep the revenue side of the ledger solid, and to stand ready to help as many children as possible. Donations are always accepted year-round.

The Campership Fund, a 501(c) 3, is required to adhere to its guidelines of no salaries for the board and no expenses; every penny raised goes to the cost of sending children to camp.
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 handles the screening and eligibility processes for the Campership Fund at no charge.

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

Donations amounting to $220 recently were received from:
• Mary Minicucci, Cheshire, in memory of Francis “Moose” McCormack, golfing buddy of the late Arnold Minicucci, from Arnold’s family, $200
• Cyber Grants, $20