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Mooresville retiree's plea: 'Give a little'

Summer Camp Fund donor recalls his times in the great outdoors.

By Celeste Smith
cesmith@charlotteobserver.com

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  • The Summer Camp Fund needs the public's help to send more kids to camp. Send your tax-deductible donations to: The Summer Camp Fund, P.O. Box 37269, Charlotte, NC 28237-7269. Donations also can be made online at www.charlotte observer.com/summercamp fund . As of Monday, $8,635 had been raised.



He's now 76, but Kenneth Rodgers still remembers the thrill of attending summer camp for the first time as an 8-year-old in his native California.

That summer kicked off many camping seasons - in the Sierra Mountains, at Lake Arrowhead, and at San Bernardino National Forest, where the majority of his time was spent outside. "You had to improvise," Rodgers said.

Campers made their own ropes out of reeds that grew in the area. They boiled water on top of a camp stove to use for kitchen cleanup.

He was especially fond of the old cabins, with the wooden floors, screen windows and overhead tarp for the roof.

"It was so fantastic.... I loved every bit of it," said Rodgers, a retired businessman who lives in Mooresville.

He contributed $100 to The Summer Camp Fund because he wants other children to enjoy the same fun.

An initiative of The Charlotte Observer and the nonprofit Partners in Out-of-School Time, the fund helps children from low-income families throughout the region attend outdoor camps. The idea is to send more kids to the great outdoors, where they can spend safe, structured, quality time.

"I want to see some kid go to camp who couldn't go otherwise," Rodgers said. "There are so many families that are without.... I think it behooves us who have any resources at all to give a little."

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