(The following article originally appeared in The Source and online at Zip06.com)
With the school year coming to a close and summer camps getting ready to start, members of the Madison Foundation have been working hard to ensure all Madison kids have a chance to attend summer camp. Through a partnership with Camp Hazen YMCA in Chester, the Madison Foundation is providing a grant to help reduce the cost of camp for those Madison students in need of assistance.
Madison Foundation Director Elizabeth DePierro said they have been working to help send kids to camp for more than 15 years.
“Each year significant funds—thousands [of dollars]—are provided to be used to support students from Madison and defray the cost of tuition for day camp, overnight camp, and many of the fantastic youth enrichment programs at Camp Hazen,” she said. “Well over 50 kids from Madison participate in camp each session over the summer.”
DePierro said they first got involved thanks for a former board president of the foundation.
“Richard Benson, a past board president and board member of The Madison Foundation for over a decade, was also a past camp director at Camp Hazen,” she said. “Dick Benson was devoted to the character and positive ambitions of the camp and wanted to ensure that money did not inhibit a child’s opportunity to participate in camp. Dick coordinated funding to be allocated to Camp Hazen earmarked for scholarships for Madison youth camp experience.”
Camp Hazen YMCA has been running summer camps for more than 90 years. DePierro said it is the ideal partner camp for the Madison Foundation.
“Camp Hazen really cares about the child-centered experience and is a special supportive community with a tremendous focus on reaching each individuals and invoking positive and inspirational experiences,” she said.
This year, the camp recently received a $1,250 grant, enough to provide three students with partial camperships, from the foundation for Madison children attending the 2016 summer programs, according to Camp Hazen YMCA Executive Director and CEO Denise Learned.
“The Madison Foundation has been a strong supporter of Camp Hazen’s programs since 2007,” she said. “We enjoy a wonderful relationship with the Madison Foundation as well as the town of Madison.”
In 2015, 131 campers from Madison attended Hazen summer programs—nine percent of the total 2015 camp population—with 92 of those Madison campers received $26,050 in financial assistance, according to Learned.
“In addition to a large Madison camper population in our summer programs, students from Brown Middle School, Polson Middle School, and The Country School come to Hazen each year for field days and leadership programs,” she said. “Hazen is so grateful that the Madison Foundation has been able to continue to support our summer camp programs and the children of Madison year after year.”