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Lions Clubs help prepare camp

Editorial by Chris Kovatch

 

This past weekend I had the opportunity to take a solo trip. That doesn’t happen too often around our house. While most parents would expect a trip sans children to be a relaxing reprieve that is not quite what was on the schedule for me.

I hit the road on Friday morning on a five-hour drive to Kerrville, Texas. While the countryside is beautiful with its rolling hills and pollen-laden bluebonnets, the reason for my trek wasn’t to take in the scenic treasures. This is the third year I have made this drive during the first weekend of March along with some pretty awesome fellow residents of Orange. Our destination? The Texas Lions Camp.

The Texas Lions Camp is located on over 500 acres in the Texas Hill Country. Originally, chartered in 1949 to reach out to those children affected by polio, the camp has evolved over the years and now reaches out to children affected by a number of different types of physical disabilities, diabetes, and cancer. The camp program is provided at no cost to the campers. The goal of the camp is to give the children attending a great experience that includes swimming, horseback riding, archery, and boating. These are just a few of the many activities that are in place to help the children develop a ‘can-do attitude’. One of the camp’s goals is to help the children develop a mindset where they are willing to try new activities, know they may not succeed on the first try, but most importantly to look at the situation and see how they can make adjustments and change the outcome on subsequent attempts.

The Orange Lions Club, along with other local Lions Clubs, has been making this annual visit to the camp for decades. Each trip, our goal is the same. We assist with tasks to prepare the facilities for the campers coming in the summer. The Orange Lions Club task is always the same. We handle tree and brush removal. Unfortunately, over the years a number of trees in the camp have been affected by drought or disease and our volunteers work to remove the affected trees and prune the healthy ones. While, this may not sound like a major feat, all I have to say is that you have not seen some of our members with a chainsaw. The drive with which they approach this task is quite evident.

After the work is done and we have time to rest and reflect, it is quite the clear the passion behind those that attend. Much like the Special Friends Day we host at the Carnival each year, the opportunity to give children who have to face so much adversity at a such a young age, the chance to just be a kid is paramount. To hear the stories from our members who have attended the summer camps and share firsthand about the pure joy experienced by the campers is enough to move you to tears.

Kids are a huge part of my life. From raising my own to working with those that attend our church to those who are our dance family at our studio, the goal is the same. I want each child to be the best they can be. Hats off to the Lions Club members from all over the State and the camp staff that help make the camp program what it is. It is personally an honor to work alongside you and to call you my friends. You have hearts for children and in my book there is no greater calling.