Greater Waterbury Campership Fund: Supporters remain optimistic despite pandemic

WATERBURY — Donations to the Greater Waterbury Campership Fund’s 2021 campaign continue to roll in as loyal supporters remain cautiously optimistic there will be a highly successful camping season this summer.

“We’re grateful for the continued support of businesses and individuals for the Campership Fund,” said Middlebury attorney Jack Senich, a member of the fund’s board of directors who along with wife Sandy, made a recent $1,000 to the cause. The campaign’s overall total has reached $76,424.

That means donations to the current campaign are closing in on the halfway mark of the $160,000 target goal set by the board a few weeks ago. And there still is more to come from the Monteiro family of Prospect whose challenge match to jump-start the campaign easily was exceeded within a few days of its launching.

Frank J. and Sandy Monteiro, and their son Anthony, issued a challenge in early March that if the public could raise $5,000 in donations from March 14 through the next three weeks, the family personally would kick in $5,000 more for camperships.

Frank J. Monteiro is president and chief executive officer of Drew International and Drew Marine, of Naugatuck and Waterbury. He pledged Drew would contribute $5,000 more if the challenge was met within the prescribed timeline.

It was and then some, as $15,170 sent in by enthusiastic donors has been credited to the Monteiro Challenge, meaning the campaign can look forward to at least $10,000 more combined from the family and Drew.

The United Way of Greater Waterbury, which volunteers to screen applicants for eligibility and coordinates communication between the Campership Fund and the camps, is accepting applications through Friday, May 14, for scholarship slots.

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.

If the pandemic lets up over the course of the next few months, as all are hoping it will, then the Campership Fund may be handling applications numbering in the hundreds instead of well below that like in 2020, when only 64 eligible youngsters attended camps. The commensurate tuition costs were $34,386.

The figures compare to a much more robust pre-pandemic 2019 camping season, when 434 kids gleefully scurried off camps throughout the state at a tuition cost of $157,457.

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.

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

Regular donations amounting to $2,820, with all but $100 applied to the Monteiro Challenge, recently were received from:

Jack and Sandy Senich, Middlebury, in honor of Jonathan Kellogg, $1,000

Tom Parisot, Watertown, in memory of Elizabeth Parisot, $500

Dave and Pam, Naugatuck, $300

Harold and Arlene Sullivan, Middlebury, $300

Reese and Cheryl Morgan, Watertown, $150

Jeffrey and Elizabeth Lynch, Watertown, $100

Joseph and Janet Butkus, Southbury, $100

Richard and Maryann D’Agostino, Waterbury, in memory of Anthony D’Agostino, $100

Richard and Deborah Danen, Oxford, $100

Barbara Brandolini, Cheshire, in memory of Ernie Brandolini, $75

Anonymous, Terryville, $50

Charlene Wicks, Waterbury, $25

Deanna Joyce via Cybergrants, $20