The Fayette Tribune, Oak Hill, W.Va.

Local News

April 23, 2014

Kids’ fun is camp’s goal

BECKWITH — There’s one primary goal, Mike Bone says.

Bone is in his first year of directing Camp Kismet, which will initiate the 33rd year of its overnight camp for youngsters on June 16. This year’s camp, funded by the Fayette County Volunteers organization utilizing donations from various sources, will run from June 16-20 at Fayette County Park in Beckwith.

“We just need to keep the focus on the kids, and make sure they have an enjoyable week,” said Bone, an employee in the Fayette County assessor’s office who was a Kismet counselor last summer. “It’s a week full of fun and activities for the kids.”

Camp Kismet offers five days and four nights of free camping, activities and meals for 105 students from ages 5 to 12. To qualify, students must receive free or reduced lunch in school.

In addition to the precious memories they add to their memory banks, each camper receives free shoes and a backpack full of school supplies as they depart at week’s end.

Among the activities to be offered — many for the first time this summer — are: archery, kick ball, swimming (Bone offers his thanks to park superintendent Earl Pauley for allowing use of the pool), soccer, basketball, disc golf, field hockey, indoor bowling, horseshoes, volleyball, fishing and badminton.

Bone said Tuesday camper entries are still being accepted for Kismet; in fact, the camp is currently only about half full. Also, volunteers are still needed to help with sporting events during the day. Volunteers would have to submit to a background check.

To register children who qualify to attend the camp, parents or guardians can visit www.schoolmeals.net. Registration will be closed on May 19, whether or not the full complement of participants is reached.

This year’s camp will feature special activities such as an ice cream social, a dance, reading, craft-making with a West Virginia theme, campfires with vespers, and a tie-dye project on the first day that ties in with the camp’s 1970s theme and the Thursday dance.

Bone also said that a community service component will be included this summer. The day of community service will be built around activities during which the children perform duties to help spruce up things around the park.

Also during the week, bully prevention measures will be discussed, and the Fayette County Sheriff’s Department will send its drug dogs for a demonstration.

Some new safety measures will be undertaken, as well. Campers will be split up into two teams for ‘friendly competition’ throughout the week. All students ages 5-6 will be housed together, and students ages 7-8, 9-10 and 11-12 will have boys and girls housed separately. To allow counselors to keep better keep track of them, each camper will wear a wristband that features the name and flag of his or her cabin.

Bone thanked the Fayette County Commission for its ‘tremendous help’ in purchasing new sports equipment for the camp.

He also said he’s looking forward to the continuing efforts of volunteers such as Hollie Havens and Sal Dibrita. In the past, Havens has brought a large quantity of supplies and clothing to distribute to campers. Havens’ school, Cabrini College in Radnor, Pa., has been involved with Camp Kismet for more than 30 years. Dibrita, a graduate student, has donated money he’s raised through fundraising efforts and will be a counselor in 2014.

“They do an exceptional job for the camp,” Bone said. “They spend a lot of time, effort and money.”

Donations from the public will help continue the Kismet mission in the future, Bone said. Donations can be mailed to: Camp Kismet, PO Box 823, Fayetteville, WV 25840.

Those interested in volunteering or needing further information about the camp can contact Bone by phone at 304-222-0629 or via e-mail at mbone68@gmail .com.

— E-mail: skeenan@register-herald.com

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