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Sunday, August 31, 2008

Sharing Simcha -- Part III

Long before the first rays of summer warm the earth, before the countdown to vacation begins, before camp applications have even been mailed out... before school starts, a group of dedicated individuals are already planning the next summer in Camp Simcha.

It's no small feat. Anyone who's worked in camp administration, any camp, knows how much planning, creativity, and coordination goes into the summer program. Multiply that by the amount of medical concerns in Camp Simcha and you've got a task that can only be tackled by the greatest giants and the G-d they hang on to so tightly. Divide it by the budget and it might just border on impossible.

With the economy on a downslide, charitable organizations are some of the first to feel the burn. I sure don't envy the job of those who need to decide which sick child's dream to cut back on. But that was the very task the abovementioned individuals faced last winter as they pondered what made the biggest impact on the campers' Simcha experience.

The result they came up with after hours of discussions with the various people involved was somewhat surprising, if not entirely original: It's the little things that count. In fact, it turns out that one of the most memorable things about camp is the soda.

Throughout the beautiful Jack and Moishe Horn Campus, you will find about seven (IIRC) drink-vending machines. The price displayed on the LCD reads $0.00. Sure enough, one need only push a button to receive the desired beverage. Apparently, this phenomenon is way cooler than adults realize, because it's one of the first things that kids rave about when they come home. Thus it was decided that the soda would stay in the budget and some other, more glamorous activity would be cut.

Why am I telling you this now? Simply to help you understand that every little touch makes a difference. A soda can, at wholesale, costs about 70 cents. Each thrill that a kid gets from hearing one clunk out of a machine, ice cold on a sweltering summer day, costs 70 cents. For less than a buck, you can help a sick kid's dream come true. But why stop there? Why not make a hundred dreams come true? You don't need to wait to win the lottery and sponsor a building fund. Rest assured that whatever you can give will be stretched to the max, with teams of devoted people working to ensure that it is allocated in ways that will benefit the campers the most.

Please support Camp Simcha and Simcha Special by sponsoring me in the Team Lifeline marathon.


ProfK said...

Camp Simcha is one of the few places where I have no doubt that everything possible is being done to serve these children and to make the money stretch to cover as much as possible.

Just a note: If your figure is accurate and the camp is paying 70 cents wholesale per can of soda, they need to get a new supplier. A 12-pack of cans is regularly priced at $4.29--$4.59 in all the markets here--all summer they have been on sale for 3 for $10, 4 for $10 and 5 for $11.

The Babysitter said...

That's amazing, it is the small stuff that counts.

Bas~Melech said...

ProfK: Actually, I was just guesstimating. I have no clue how much they pay for the sodas; I've never been involved in ordering or inventory. ;-)

Anonymous said...

great point first thing my brother showed us when picking him up from camp was the soda machine and of course he pressed it hundreds of times

Bas~Melech said...

Anon -- Him and almost every other kid ;-)

Told you so.

And, if anyone's concerned about the waste incurred by his pressing the buttons "hundreds of times," rest assured that extras are returned to the machines for later.