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For two fun-filled, healing weeks this summer, 28 children who have experienced homelessness had a blast at Family Promise’s Camp Lots-of-Fun! They played, ran, danced, created, laughed, learned, and made new friends. The stresses of their lives faded away as they experienced fun adventures with daily field trips, performances, and interactive play. The kids, ages 5–12, also got loads of much-needed attention with a nearly 1:1 ratio of campers to volunteer counselors (most of whom were members of the Family Promise Youth Council for the Homeless). This all could not have happened without the generous support of our community, including many individual donors as well as local companies.

OritaniBank Charitable Foundation set the pace by awarding Camp Lots-of-Fun a matching grant for the second year in a row. Every donation was matched, dollar for dollar, up to and including $25,000. This resulted in a fantastic experience for our campers!

Camp Director Blake Visconti made sure there was plenty of fun and learning packed into the two-week schedule, including several STEM and literacy activities. New this year was a trip to the Meadowlands Environment Center, with a highlight being a walk led by the Audubon Society, where campers looked for shorebirds and other species. Another new experience was a visit to Sharp Electronics’ corporate headquarters in Montvale, where campers learned about the lifecycle of an electronic product, from construction in Asia to being on a shelf at Best Buy here in Bergen County. A tour of Sharp’s facility provided campers with the opportunity to experience a corporate environment, as well as learn about different careers. SUEZ, a longtime supporter of Camp Lots-of-Fun, donated funds for camp programs and created a book fair where campers got to choose new books of their own. TD Bank provided an educational and FUN financial literacy workshop for our campers, complete with a visit from their mascot, TD!

Thanks to the generosity of several companies, the children in our programs will head back to school with everything they need. BD provided new backpacks for each camper filled with school supplies. Thanks to Sharp, TD Bank, and Visions Federal Credit Union, each camper (as well as other children in our programs who could not attend Camp Lots-of-Fun) received a $100 gift card for back-to-school clothes and necessities. The Teen Foundation of Temple Sinai of Bergen County also provided gift cards to teens in our programs, so they could purchase what they needed for back-to-school.

Our campers were certainly well-fed! Lunch, snacks, and water were generously provided by many individual donors, groups, and businesses, including BD, N&V International, Sharp, SUEZ, Unity Bank, Visions Federal Credit Union, Mary Shaw and friends, the Leyva Family, and Rebecca Ades and friends. Thank you!

Camp Lots-of-Fun also received grant support from the Robert and Joan Dircks Foundation, The Todd Ouida Children’s Foundation, SUEZ, and the Owens Insurance Group, as well as a matching grant from OritaniBank Charitable Foundation.

Thank you to everyone in our community who came together, donated, volunteered, and supported this amazing program called Camp Lots-of-Fun. Our campers had such a great time!