SACReD has acknowledged that responsible leadership requires opening new opportunities and experiences for people who've not had access to them in the past. At the 1999 SACReD Annual Meeting, the organization recognized the need for a long-term program for nurturing ecologists of the future, our Bay area youth. Emphasis was placed on recruiting local children who lack economic access to the recreational and outdoor educational activities that exist in South Anne Arundel County, nearly all of which are privately funded. The Junior Ecologist Program was born to address this need.
The Program's first effort resulted in the sponsorship of three children to the United Methodist West River Camp on Chalk Point in West River, MD. The week-long camp offers an ecologically-oriented program: nature study, lessons on marine life in the Chesapeake Bay, boating, canoeing, crabbing, fishing and swimming. The camp has the only public swimming pool in the area, and activities also include storytelling around a camp fire, games, crafts, and more. There are special camps for deaf children as well as a sign-language teaching camp. These are the few camping opportunities in the area for the deaf.
In order to send more children to camp, in 2000, SACReD initiated a sponsorship program where community leaders, businesses and organizations sponsored a week at the camp for one child. As a result of the generous contributions from the leaders in South County, we were able to double the size of the program and send six children to camp in 2000.
Because of the efforts of our Program Chairs, the growth of the Program has been stunning. The organization has more than doubled the size of the Camp Fund, increased the visibility of the Program, and brought in assistance from some of the County's most important business leaders. SACReD sent eighteen children to camp in 2003, all sponsored by committed local businesses and individuals. Pam Barry has initiated for SACReD an ongoing relationship with local elementary school counselors to identify children at risk who might be helped, in terms of self-esteem, scholarship and confidence, by the award of a "campership" and a week at Discovery Camp.
Through the generosity of our 2004 Sponsors, last summer SACReD was able to identify and register twenty-two (22) deserving children from Shady Side, Churchton, Lothian, Harwood, Edgewater and West River. For 2005, we are hoping to send at least twenty-five (25) children to camp. In fact, with existing funds, we have already begun the registration process at the West River Camp to ensure that all of the children we have identified for this year's program are registered into camp sessions appropriate to their individual needs. There are many children awaiting final word that we will have the funds so they can go to camp. All it takes is $320 to sponsor a local child's week at camp - a donation that is tax deductible! Some of the benefits of sponsorship include: your name featured in our newspaper ad thanking sponsors, inclusion in press releases that will be sent to local and regional newspapers, recognition in the SACReD newsletter, SACReD Update, on this website, and on SACReD's radio station, WRYR-LP 97.5 FM. And, of course, the biggest benefit of sponsorship, knowing you have made a child happy and given them experiences they will never forget. We'd like to thank the sponsors who have already made a commitment to sponsor a child this year.
The program continues to grow, thanks to the unwavering support of our charter sponsors and a few new friends! Please take a moment to look over the list and recognize these local individuals, organizations and businesses who are making a difference in the lives of South County's youth.
For more information in how to sponsor a child or nominate a child, please contact SACReD.
Arundel Citizens for Responsible
Development (SACReD), a non-profit, 501(c)(3)
organization whose mission is to work toward a sustainable Southern Anne Arundel County,
Maryland community through research, education, and action.
Please for additional information.
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