Last year, many of you wonderful, amazing friends donated to help fund our local YMCA’s Camp G.R.A.C.E. (Growth, Recognition, Achievement, Character, Encouragement), a summer camp program for autistic youth. And as an added bonus, you helped turn me orange to celebrate our fundraising accomplishments!
This year, the fundraising needs for the camp are as great as ever. However, I can’t offer hair dyeing or anything else like that as an incentive for you to give this year. I’m hoping you’ll still give even without the hair coloring. As many of you know, we’ve had a chaotic few months at our house. Mary had a very difficult year health-wise including major, emergency surgery and several weeks of recovery. Life is beginning to return to what passes as normal here, but a lot of catching up to do and a number of urgent priorities mean we have less time to raise money for Camp G.R.A.C.E. than I had hoped. The deadline is November 9th!
Our J-Man had an amazing time at camp this past summer! (See pictures below!) We weren’t sure how he would react given that it had been a full year since he was last there, but from the first day we could tell that he remembered what a great time he had as he just walked right in! Those of you who know him know that this is no easy feat for him!
Not only were we so proud of his accomplishments and success at camp, Camp G.R.A.C.E. also proved a godsend to us as Mary’s hospitalization started right in the middle of camp. They bent over backwards to give our J-Man a good, affirming, positive two weeks in the midst of all the chaos going on at home. He flourished there this year, and we have the awesome counselors and staff of Camp G.R.A.C.E. to thank for that!
But all the supports, equipment, and staff necessary for the camp cost money. Camp G.R.A.C.E. provides extra assistance and accommodations to our children because of their many complex needs, with an average of one counselor for every two children. Even after so many generously volunteer their time and resources, it takes significant funding to create and staff a camp with trained counselors to address these needs. Camp G.R.A.C.E. does everything possible to keep costs down for families. From there, they rely on generous donors like you.
During this year’s YMCA We Build People campaign, Camp G.R.A.C.E. needs to raise $20,000 to meet its goal for 2012. Your support toward that goal will mean that dozens of autistic children and their families will be able to afford a camp experience next summer like our J-Man had.
For many of these families, medical and therapy bills and the shaky economy leave little, if any, money available to go toward positive experiences like Camp G.R.A.C.E. And this is heartbreaking. Simply put, your gifts make sending our children to camp possible. Because of you, these awesome kids can have the same opportunity to go to camp and have the same memorable experiences as other children.
100% of your donation goes directly to our youth programs and provides discounts and scholarships for autistic children to come to camp. So you can donate knowing that every penny is going to help kids have a great time at camp next year with amazing counselors who love and care for them so much.
There are two ways you can donate.
- You can donate online. I put up a separate page on where to go and how to complete the online form here. If you donate online, make sure you e-mail me that you did. This makes it easier to track our fundraising totals and thank you properly!
- You can donate by check or pledge. I can fill out a card with your information on it and turn it in to the YMCA. Just e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to do any of the following. To send a check, let me know and I’ll give you instructions and my address. The pledge card also gives you the option to be billed later for your gift or to divide your donation into a pledge of four credit card payments. I’m more than happy to fill the card out for you!
But our fundraiser ends November 9th, so please donate soon! Every dollar makes a difference!
Yours in cheering our kids and helping them feel special,
They got him to sit on a horse!! And enjoy it, too!!
Having a blast in the water!
Our awesome Camp Director, Brooke!
Counselor extraordinaire Neela with our J-Man! Shhhhh. We think he’s her favorite. 🙂