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Saturday, May 21, 2011

Doing Our Part

Last year Kiddo got to go to a sleep-away summer camp for the first time.  This may not seem like a big deal to some people but for us it was huge.  A kid with a feeding tube and life-threatening food allergies can hardly spend the night at a friends house, let alone at a summer camp!  But then we learned about Victory Junction - a camp build just for kids with special needs - and we knew we were set.  Victory Junction was founded by the Petty family (of NASCAR fame) to give all children a fantastic summer camp experience in spite of any physical or mental challenges they may face.  Each week during summer the camp features 2-3 diseases/disorders so kids can spend time with others just like themselves.  And with a staff of doctors and nurses available 24/7, the kids are kept safe and healthy (the camp can even to chemotherapy for kids with cancer).  You can check out a video of the camp here: - it's worth watching!

Kiddo had the MOST AMAZING WEEK of his life last year.  He sobbed when we came to pick him up from camp - he absolutely did not want to leave, even though we were going straight to Disney World from there.  And we just got the news that he gets to go back to camp again this summer - woohoo!

Did I mention that camp is completely free for all children?  As long as a child qualifies and gets in (there is a waiting list), there is no cost to the family.

That said, running a camp like this isn't cheap.  If we had to pay for it, camp would cost us $2,500 for a 5-day session.  Because of this my family does anything we can to help raise awareness and money for Victory Junction, and on May 15 we had the chance to do just that.

We drove 90 minutes away to the race track in Dover, Delaware to volunteer with the NASCAR Foundation before the race started.  This year the Foundation is donating all of the profits from the sale of NASCAR Day Pins directly to Victory Junction.

We spent about an hour working the crowd outside the booth, encouraging people to purchase pins to support Victory Junction.  Having Kiddo there to talk to people - the child is NOT shy, that's for sure - and tell them about his time at camp was a great bonus!  I think we sold about 100 pins while we were there, and at $10 each, that's a pretty good donations for camp.  This sale is going on at every race track for the entire NASCAR season so that will add up to quite a hefty sum.

We had a great time helping out and are hoping we get the chance to do it again soon.  The fact that we're doing our part to say thanks to Victory Junction for Kiddo's wonderful experiences meant a great deal to us.

As a thank you for helping out we were given free tickets to the race - which we hadn't planned on attending. Kiddo has never been to a race (Hubby and I have gone several times over the years) so we decided to stay for a little while at least.  KIDDO LOVED IT.  The noise of the engines is simply unbelievable until you hear it for yourself.  It's too bad we couldn't stay, because we were all having a great time.

Victory Junction is a amazing, fantastic, inspiring place.  

If you know any child with special needs, please check out the camp - that child will thank you forever.  Oh, and for those not on the East Coast, they are building a new camp somewhere in the Midwest right now!

And if you ever want a new charity to donate to, please Please PLEASE consider donating to Victory Junction.  Your money will make a huge difference in the lives of special kids just like Kiddo.


Kay said...

Heather, thanks for telling us about this and sharing your story. What a wonderful camp and I'm so glad that Kiddo will be attending again this year. Also, thanks for letting us know that we can do a small part to help out as well. I'm always looking for ways to help a little, especially with charities that are dear to the hearts of my blogging friends. Hugs to you!!

Laura said...

That is so amazing! I'm so glad that kiddo enjoyed camp so much. It's such a great things for kids and it teaches them so much. I bet you cried when he left!

Heather J. said...

Kay - Thank you so much for considering supporting VJC - you have no idea how much that means to us!

Laura - I thought I would cry, but he was already having so much fun that he barely noticed that we had to leave, and I was so relieved that he was happy that I couldn't stop smiling. :)

Jenny Girl said...

Wonderful story and so glad kiddo has a plcae that he can go to as well. My girlfriend's son goes to the Ronald McDonald Camp every year, and in return we do things for the local McDonald house.

Paying it forward is a great lesson to teach :)

Heather J. said...

Jenny Girl - I'm so glad you support the McDonald house! They are a fantastic charity as well.

Ryan G said...

What an awesome way to give back to seomthing that Kiddo loves so much. It's a great thing to do!

Michelle @ The True Book Addict said...

What a great place! It is truly wonderful that you all give back to such an important charity! Kudos!

TheBookGirl said...

I'm so glad that you posted this Heather, as we like to support lesser known charities, and particularly ones where there are testimonials from "real" people that have so benefited from the organization.
This place sounds wonderful, and how great that your son can return this year!

Heather J. said...

Ryan - Thanks - we had fun doing it too!

Michelle - It really is a fantastic place. We're so lucky Kiddo gets to go there.

TheBookGirl - I do hope you consider supporting VJC - needless to say, it's a charity very close to our hearts! :)

blackwatertown said...

What a great camp - thanks for telling us about it and your role.
Good pics too.

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