As many of you know it’s not easy asking for help. Whether it’s for ourselves or for a dream we are trying to work towards, it’s just hard. I am grateful for all the help I have received over the years both personally and with all of my projects and dreams. If my dream of a fair and just world – where we no longer had to deal with poverty, racism, homophobia, etc. came true – I wouldn’t be writing this or asking for your help right now. But as you know that is not the case.
So, It is that time of year where I begin my work of trying to raise funds for the Village Camp Scholarship Fund, to provide scholarships for children to attend Village Camp, a community camp that I established in 1999 when I was working for Cayuga Nature Center. This will be the 16th year of Village Camp. Each Spring I begin the process of writing grants, preparing fundraisers and asking folks for donations so children from families with limited incomes from the Greater Ithaca Activities Center will have the opportunity to spend a week at Camp Earth Connection, in the Hammond Hill State Forest. We have had between 15 and 50 children attend each summer depending on the funds we are able to secure.
Without opportunities like this, many of these children will become more unfamiliar and less connected with the forests and natural environment. Of all times, this is a very pertinent time for children to be connected with nature, as we face environmental crisis. I believe that we all should have access to the natural world, the forests, and parks and campgrounds and opportunities to connect with nature in settings that are primarily still natural. I also believe that we should all feel and be safe when we visit these natural spaces. But this is not always the case. From my own experience as a parent of African American children and working with diverse groups of children and staff, I can share many stories of how folks were mistreated, harmed and threatened when they ventured away from the safety of their home or community. Many People of Color, Women and LGBT folks just to name a few groups, have have experienced this type of oppression when visiting natural areas. This is one of the reasons I created Camp Earth Connection, and the Village Camp Program. Camp Earth Connection provides an environment that is built on Diversity, Acceptance and Community.
If you are able to make a financial donation of any kind it will be appreciated. No donation is too small. So if you feel so compelled, I would ask that you consider giving a donation in 2016 to the Village Camp Scholarship Fund. Your donation can be tax deductible if you make it out to “Greater Ithaca Activities Center” or if that is not important to you, you can also make a donation to “Earth Connection.” All funds will be used for scholarships and/or transportation for children from the GIAC and surrounding community to attend Village Camp Programs.
For those of you who continue to support this project and for those of you who are making a first time donation, I sincerely thank you. I will do my best to provide a wonderful and positive experience for all the children that are able to attend.
In Peace and Gratitude,