Island Park Kiwanis was able to give back this summer by sending six Island Park children to Camp Kiwanis summer camp. Money raised from the Island Park Kiwanis pancake breakfast is used for the Kiwanis club to send children ages eight to 14 to Kamp Kiwanis, a sleep-away summer camp in Taberg, New York. There kids can partake in a host of summer activities including canoeing, swimming, hiking, boating, fishing, arts and crafts, talent shows, music, campfires, and different sports. This year marks the first year the club has sent kids to camp since 2019. The camp closed due to Covid in 2020 and 2021. Last year the club lacked the funds to send kids to camp.
That selection process usually starts around April, after the Kiwanis Pancake breakfast. The money raised determines how many kids can be sent to camp. This year the Kiwanis Club raised approximately $4,000 through 25 raffled baskets and admission fees from the pancake breakfast, which took place in April.
“It is fairly expensive to send the kids so the fact that this year we get to send six is a great thing,” said club president Karen Davis.
Davis said the cost to take one child to camp for one week is about $715 per camper plus $180 for transportation. Those selected get to choose one week over the summer to attend. There are no criteria for how kids are selected to earn a trip to Camp Kiwanis but social workers and guidance counselors at Hegarty Elementary and Lincoln Orens Middle School oversee the selection process and recommend students for the program. This year students from Hegarty and Lincoln Orens were selected. Each summer the club uses the proceeds from the pancake breakfast to send kids to camp and Davis said the goal is to give kids an opportunity to do something fun over the summer.
“If both parents are working and the kid is stuck watching TV or playing video games all day, that’s not a great summer,” said Davis. “There are a lot of different variables in how the kids are selected. One year we decided to select kids whose parents were in the military so it’s not always need-based.”
Island Park Kiwanis Club holds several fundraisers throughout the year including the lobster and steak dinner at Masone Beach, Sip and Paint Fundraiser in Long Beach on Aug. 24th. After Covid, the club has been bringing in new members. Davis has been club president for the past four years and previously served as club secretary. Davis is an Oceanside resident and was a school teacher at Lincoln Orens. She also served as an advisor for the middle school Builders Club for 12 years, which led her to join the Kiwanis club. Davis has been involved with Kiwanis for over 15 years old and says the club is always looking for more members to join and help the community.
“Kiwanis has secretly done a lot of good for the community since 1954 and not a lot of people know about it,” she said.