Senate Republican Conference Leader Dean Skelos and Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver Join Camp Leaders to Announce the Heal the Children Program Created by the American Camp Association, NY and NJ, to Provide Camp Scholarships to Children Affected by Hurricane Sandy

ALBANY, N.Y., April 23, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The American Camp Association, New York and New Jersey, a not for profit organization dedicated to enhancing the quality of summer camps, is giving hundreds of camp scholarships to children affected by the devastation of Hurricane Sandy through the Heal the Children Program. 

Over 90 day and sleepaway camps are donating free summer camp sessions to children whose families have suffered from the massive October storm. Going to summer camp will give these children the opportunity to have something to look forward to in the immediate future, a positive camp experience, while also giving their families the time and energy to focus on rebuilding their lives. 

The Heal the Children program was created by The American Camp Association, New York and New Jersey in response to the horrific terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. Heal the Children was formed to provide free summer camp sessions to any child who lost a parent on September 11th.  "In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, we once again saw children in our own communities suffering great loss," says Scott Ralls, President of the American Camp Association, New York and New Jersey.  "And once again, the Summer Camp community responded by giving these children a safe and wonderful summer at camp, allowing them to leave their troubles behind, even if just for a short time."

"Providing children with the opportunity to attend summer camp – a place where they can forget their worries and just be kids – is one of the best ways to help them heal after the devastation caused by Sandy," said Senate Republican Leader Dean Skelos. "I commend The American Camp Association of New York and New Jersey for this important program, and know that they will help provide a memorable experience for so many of our communities' deserving children."

Speaker Silver said, "I commend the American Camp Association, New York and New Jersey and its member organizations for their leadership and their tremendous generosity in establishing the Heal the Children Program.  Representing a community that was devastated by Hurricane Sandy, I know, firsthand, the suffering New Yorkers endured, particularly our children.  By providing free camp time, the Association is giving children something wonderful to which they can look forward, and giving their parents the freedom to focus on recovering and rebuilding."   

Ross Coleman, President of the New York State Camp Directors Association, explains, "These children who had to worry about where they were going to school and where they were living get to just be kids this summer.  By doing our part, we believe that these future leaders will acquire lessons in resilience, responsibility, and resourcefulness, which are the cornerstones of the camp experience."

The American Camp Association, New York and New Jersey is working in conjunction with local relief agencies to identify children in the most devastated regions that would benefit from a summer camp experience through Heal the Children.

Christine Flynn, the mother of two boys on Long Island, will be sending her sons to Coleman Country Day Camp in Merrick, NY through the Heal the Children program and said, "We are so excited and appreciate this wonderful opportunity.  We want to sincerely thank the Coleman family for their generosity."

"Hurricane Sandy took everything I owned.  All my clothes, toys and even family pictures," said Meghan Corbett, age 11. "I can't wait to go to Southwoods Camp and do fun things everyday instead of thinking about fixing the house." Meghan's mom, Barbara Corbett commented, "As me and my husband have the long and often frustrating process of waiting for permits and work orders, our children have the pleasure of waiting for that first day of camp, of making friends and of experiencing new things."

For further information about Heal the Children and the American Camp Association, New York and New Jersey, please contact Jess Michaels at the American Camp Association, New York and New Jersey 212.391.5208.

ABOUT THE AMERICAN CAMP ASSOCIATION, NEW YORK AND NEW JERSEY
The American Camp Association, New York and New Jersey (ACA, NY and NJ) is a private, not for profit organization dedicated to preserving, promoting and enhancing the quality of the summer camp experience. Because of camp, children and adults have the opportunity to learn important lessons in community, character-building, skill development, and healthy life lessons that can't be learned anywhere else.  For more information about the American Camp Association, NY and NJ, visit www.aca-nynj.org

SOURCE American Camp Association, New York and New Jersey



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