Wellington Community Foundation board members met with campers from Wellington’s Parks and Recreation Department on Tuesday morning.
The foundation, a nonprofit organization designed to improve the lives of Wellington residents, provided five Wellington children with camp scholarships for eight weeks, explained Tom Wenham.
Wenham, who chairs the Wellington Community Foundation, was joined by foundation board members Robbin Lee and Maggie Zeller, along with Wellington’s Community Services Director James Poag, Athletic Programs Manager Ryan Hagopian and Senior Neighborhood Advocate Jonathan Salas.
“We’re very excited that we’re able to do this,” Wenham said. “We’re very happy to help these five kids enjoy themselves and enjoy the summer.”
Poag and Salas chose the recipients, Wenham said.
Foundation officials were proud to be making a difference in the summers of young Wellington residents.
“This is our mission, to help Wellington children have a great summer,” Zeller said.
Lee, CEO of Wellington Regional Medical Center, is glad to see that the newly revitalized foundation was able to provide this assistance.
“Wellington is known for families, and especially our children,” Lee said. “To be able to do something for the kids in our community, it’s very exciting. I’m thrilled to be here.”
Campers took a quick break from playing to pose for a picture with foundation officials and village staff members.
“It’s a great opportunity for our children to have this experience. Wellington prides itself on family, on our parks, on our recreation,” Poag said. “To expose these children to the Wellington Parks & Recreation system, I think, is just an absolute positive. We really appreciate the foundation’s contribution.”
Wellington’s summer camp program, he explained, brings many former campers back as counselors, where they are able to share their experiences with current participants. Campers get to take field trips, where they go fishing, to the Wellington pool and to other places that not all camps are able to attend, giving campers unique opportunities.
Some of the activities for campers when they aren’t on field trips, Hagopian said, include rock wall climbing, bounce houses and more. Earlier this week, the children made their own stuffed animals.
On average, the camp has 200 participants each week. Older campers go on field trips Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and recently went to Miami. They have deep-sea fishing trips, and go to entertainment destinations such as Boomers.
“The counselors have been really good,” Hagopian said. “All of them are over 18 years old and have graduated from high school.”
Hagopian directed people to the village’s web site, www.wellingtonfl.gov, for information about signing up.
“We should still have spaces available for the kinder group, ages 5 to 7, and the 7- to 12-year-old group,” he said. “The teen group has filled up pretty quickly this year.”
The scholarships provided by the foundation gave children in need an opportunity to hang out with their peers and participate in great activities, he said.
“It’s a really big deal,” Hagopian said. “For people to come out and be able to sponsor some of these kids who may not have the ability to go to summer camp, hats off to the Wellington Community Foundation and some of the other scholarships and sponsorships that we’ve had this year.”
Wellington’s summer camp runs through Aug. 12 with weekly sessions from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday.