After operating successfully for nearly 20 years, Northwest Kiwanis Camp coordinator Sharron Sherfick thinks the site is ready for some changes, both physical and internal.
"We want to have the camp be even greater than it has been," Sherfick said, addressing the Sequim chapter of the Kiwanis Club last month.
The camp, which was started by the Kiwanis Club of Sequim in 1989 and established on a 40-acre site on Chimacum's Beausite Lake in 1993, provides a unique weeklong summertime experience for people 6 to 60 with physical or developmental disabilities. Six peninsula Kiwanis Club chapters now assist the Sequim club in operating the camp - two Port Angeles groups, one in Port Townsend and three that are newly helping this year - the Gig Harbor, the South Whidbey Island and the Anacortes chapters.
The camp has been at full capacity for the past several years, with 100 campers on a waiting list in 2007, and maintenance is needed, Sherfick said. Activities such as therapeutic horseback riding and fishing provide an enriching experience but require constant upkeep.
Sherfick said vigorous fundraising, including an October cruise, a July McTakeover event and, the biggest, the upcoming March 29 Port Townsend golf tournament, have helped the camp administrators do some much-needed physical remodeling including new bathrooms, bunkhouses, special cots for those with disabilites and roof maintenance. Sherfick added that Sequim's Allen Roofing has agreed to donate all materials needed to repair the roofs.
All the changes aren't physical, however.
Starting this year, Sherfick said, the camp administrators have agreed to increase the number of sessions from four to five and plan to add a session per year until they have reached 10 weeks.
"We're moving slowly," Sherfick said. "We did have issues ... funding counselors for all the sessions last year. (However) we're confident we can do it."
Sherfick announced to
Sequim chapter members that new incentives have been added for counselors. She said that the ideal of 25 counselors can be a challenge to obtain.
"We've developed an internship program that offers college students college credits while being counselors," she said. "They need to come up with a learning plan."
According to Sherfick, 11 community colleges and universities have said they are on-board with the internship program and 85 percent of past counselors are studying and planning to work in special education or pediatrics.
Since the Sequim chapter founded the camp, said board member Shell McGuire, the members have a special interest in seeing it continue to succeed. Sherfick informed them that their dedication had paid off.
"Your club has provided the greatest percentage of volunteers," said Sherfick, before accepting a $5,000 check from club members. "(Kiwanis Club of Sequim) is definitely helping the camp succeed."
Lending a Hand
Northwest Kiwanis Camp coordinator Sharron Sherfick said there are several ways to donate to the camp:
• Donate money
Those who want to contribute cash can send a tax-deductible donation to the camp at PO Box 1227, Port Hadlock, WA 98339.
• Become a counselor/volunteer
Sherfick said they always are looking for volunteers or people over the age of 16 to be counselors. A new program that gives college students credit is available.
• Rent the site off-season
The Beausite Lake site is available for rent to nonprofit organizations during the fall, winter and spring. Proceeds go straight back into the camp.
• Attend a fundraiser
The next big fundraiser for the camp is the 11th annual Kiwanis Tournament at the Port Townsend Golf Club on March 31.
For more information, contact the Northwest Kiwanis Camp at 360-732-7222 or visit www.KiwanisCamp.com.
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