The annual KAMP Dovetail camping event for special needs children was canceled on April 13 due to safety issues related to COVID-19.
Supplementary Assistance for the Handicapped (SATH) Executive Director Linda Allen said since there would be no KAMP Dovetail this summer, her organization and the Altrusa Club of Highland County wanted to give the children something special—a commemorative T-shirt and a special book to take home.
“We decided we wanted to give them something to remember this year by,” she said. “The T-shirt says ‘Quarantined 2020’ — they’ve been telling their parents that they’re not sick so why can’t they have a camp, and when the parents bring them here to pick up their T-shirt and book, they can see the campgrounds are empty.”
Allen said many of the children don’t understand why they will not be coming to Rocky Fork State Park for a week of fun and excitement.
“To have done this for 32 years and not have camp this year,” Allen said, “it just breaks our hearts, so I designed this T-shirt along this year’s theme, which was ‘All-Stars,’ and we got the quarantine on it, so these shirts are limited edition and one-of-a-kind since we don’t plan on being quarantined next year.”
With social distancing in place, Allen said SATH invited campers to come to KAMP Dovetail, located on North Shore Drive near the main entrance to Rocky Fork State Park, on the first three days of what would have been their week of camp to pick up their gifts.
Each day from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. beginning Monday and continuing through Wednesday, June 24, campers who come to the site will be able to pick up their shirt courtesy of Rent-2-Own, and books, which the Altrusa Club and the Elks Lodge purchased for them.
Jane Tissot and Mary Stanforth, two of the three inductees into the Highland County Women’s Hall of Fame last year, staffed a table with special books for the children to take home.
“We have piggy-backed on with the Elks Club, who have donated money for us to give these books out,” Tissot said. “We work together on these projects because we feel that not only children but everyone needs to read.”
Stanforth said since some of the campers may not be able to come to Rocky Fork Lake, the alternative is to mail their books out.
“Any of the campers who can’t come in person to pick up the books, or their parents, we will mail them to them,” Stanforth said. “They’re all addressed and ready to go for those who can’t come, and we have donated money from our club to help with the postage.”
Allen pointed out that many of the children will not be able to come to Rocky Fork State Park as, by her estimates, KAMP Dovetail had nearly 300 special needs children from over 30 counties in four states, and that mailing everything out is an expensive proposition.
“It’s going to cost between $3.80 and $6.00 a shirt just to mail them, and Jane and Mary’s books cost about the same,” Allen said. “So we made over 100 extra shirts, and we’re taking orders for them as a fundraiser, since I’m guessing we’ll have between 150 and 200 shirts to mail.”
Allen said the community, which she said has always stepped up to support SATH and KAMP Dovetail, can help out in one of three ways:
*Donations and shirt orders can be made at the KAMP Dovetail store online at kampdovetail.com/store/quarantine.asp, where both donations and purchases can be made by credit card.
*Donations can also be made by calling her office at 937-366-6657 and arranging to pick up the order at the Hopewell Center, located on West New Market Rd. outside New Market.
*Donations and purchases can also be made by mailing a personal check or money order to KAMP Dovetail, 5350 W. New Market Rd., Hillsboro, Ohio 45133. Quantity and shirt size should be specified.
Reach Tim Colliver at 937-402-2571