Kars4Kids supports two wonderful summer camps in the Catskill Region of New York State. Right up to the last minute, we were planning for the best summer ever at TheZone, for kids who come to us from all over the United States. We had put into place all sorts of protocols and precautions to keep our campers safe while having fun. Alas and alack, the state of New York decided it was not to be, that it would be too dangerous during the coronavirus epidemic to operate summer camps for children.
At Kars4Kids, we were disappointed, feeling that summer camp is an essential experience for children. Some of the kids who come to us have never been out of the city to breathe fresh air. They may have never had a chance to cuddle a bunny, feed a goat, or to help to care for the other animals in the petting zoos at our two summer camp locations.
But the main reason TheZone is such an important experience for our young Zoniacs, is our stellar camp personnel. Our counselors are all volunteers. We are inundated with young people wanting to work in our camp—for no pay, mind you—and we take only the best and the brightest to work with our campers. And when summer camp ends, the staff at TheZone continue to keep in touch with and mentor the campers.
“I Want to be Just Like My Counselor”
We know it makes a difference—we know it matters. The proof? A staff members just spoke to a mom whose 14-year-old daughter just joined our Kars4Kids tuition program, having been accepted into a prestigious high school for scholarly teens. When our staffer asked her what made the girl decide to try for a place at that particular school, she said it was all about her counselor at TheZone last summer. The counselor had been so wonderful that the girl decided she wanted to grow up to be just like her. And since that is the high school that counselor attended, she wanted to go there, too.
But Tamar is not the only camper who has felt the lasting impact of a summer at TheZone. Sarah applied for a position as a counselor at a summer camp, only to find out that there would be no camp this summer, due to COVID-19. Disappointed, she reached out to her former counselor at TheZone to tell her all about it. The truth is, Sarah hadn’t seen her counselor since the summer of 2015, when she attended TheZone. Yet the impact of that summer is still going strong. To Sarah, the counselor was a role model. She wanted to be just like her. That’s why she wanted to be a counselor, too. To be a role model for other young girls, just as her counselor had mentored her, five years earlier.
We hope that next summer, this will be all behind us, and Sarah will get her chance.
We Think of the Campers When We Process Your Donations
Our Kars4Kids office is literally buzzing with stories like these two all the time. It gives a boost to our work here at Kars4Kids to hear them. And we give you the best possible service when you donate your cars to us, because when we process your donations, in our minds, we’re thinking about Tamar, and Sarah, and all the other wonderful young people we’ve had the privilege of working with over the years in our summer camps and programs.
This summer, we feel the lack of summer camp most keenly. Because we know exactly how important the camp experience is to our youth. And we can hardly wait until this whole coronavirus thing is over, so we can get back to what we do best: helping young people grow into the best possible people they can be.