Save Money in this Sunday's paper

comments

Camp bridges gaps among kids of varied backgrounds

  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2014/05/24/16/34/Ch3ii.Em.138.jpeg|218
    - COURTESY OF PAUL MOORE
    Paul Moore, right, says he’ll send his sons, Aiden, left, and Liam, 6, to Camp Thunderbird when they’re old enough to go. His wife, Maya, left, is on board with the plan. “She’s heard all my camp stories, and she could tell you most of them without my being here,” Paul Moore says.
  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2014/05/24/16/34/PJUdG.Em.138.jpeg|495
    -
  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2014/05/24/16/34/dscuZ.Em.138.jpeg|344
    - CAMP THUNDERBIRD
    After outgrowing camper status, Paul Moore, center, kept coming back to Camp Thunderbird as a counselor-in-training and then a counselor to share his perspective and skills with a younger generation. His last year was the summer after his freshman year in college. “When I left camp it was because I had to,” he said, so that he could get experience related to his college major.

More Information

  • Donate to the Summer Camp Fund
  • Summer Camp Fund donors

    The fund has raised $21,313 this week. Recent donors include:

    Robert Conder, Marcia Ray and Laurie Baucom$300

    Irving & Robin Sharp$100

    Anonymous$200

    Marie E. Colonna$25

    Anonymous$50

    Judy Cook$25

    Charles and Jewell Vinson$100

    Robert L. Kirby$100

    Judy & Ken Rose$100

    Helene Hilger$50

    Anonymous$100

    Anonymous$50

    Mary Louise Little$100

    Anonymous$100

    Ronald J. Schertler$200

    Kenneth & Laverne Davis$25

    Anonymous$100

    Margot Rott and Troy Bush$75

    Anonymous$50

    William & Kathryn McCollum$100

    Sally & Russell Robinson$5,000

    Donna Butterworth$100

    Lori & Alfred Mele$100

    Bill & Phyllis Spier Charitable Gifts$300

    Anonymous$50

    Anonymous$100

    In honor of my grandchildren, by Nancy Wohlbruck$300

    Sally S. Van Allen$100

    Anonymous$50

    Anonymous$100

    Anonymous$100

    Anonymous$100

    Mary M. White$100

    Jane R. Smith$100

    In honor of Rusty Gray, from Blair & Ivon$100

    Rosellen Dunn$100

    Anonymous$25

    Suzanne Hurley$50

    Gordon & Barbara Friedrich$100

    Jan & Tom McGuire$100

    Melanie Hudson$100

    In honor of my grandfather$200

    John & Patricia Thompson$100

    Anonymous$50

    Anonymous$100

    Anonymous$200

    Anonymous$200

    Anonymous$100

    Anonymous$50

    Anonymous$100

    Cheryl & Brooks Greene$100

    Mrs. Robert K. Harrison$100

    Jane H. Berry$100

    Phillip & Judy Christopher$100

    Anonymous$50

    Anonymous$10

    J. G. & Irene Blackmon$100

    Paul & Nadine Baccellieri$200

    Ronald B. McLauchlin$100

    Thomas Evans & Paula Laurent$100

    Anonymous$30

    Peggy B. Crowley$100

    Stephen & Janice Ezzo$100

    Anonymous$100

    George C. Fowler$50

    Anonymous$100

    Anonymous$50

    Anonymous$25

    Bill & Pam Smith$50

    Margaret Cantrell$10

    Anonymous$25

    Anonymous$50

    James & Martha Woodward$100

    Rene R. Collazo$25

    Anonymous$100

    Anonymous$25

    Don D. Folk$30

    Anonymous$100

    Mary Jane Gilmore$100

    Pamela G. Warren$100

    Anonymous$25

    Donald Kidd$40

    William & Linde Mullis$100

    Mrs. R. Read Tull$200

    Harold N. Anders$20

    Anonymous$100

    Anonymous$50

    Anonymous$30

    Anonymous$100

    Jim & Robin Van Jura$150

    Larry Sladek$100

    Anonymous$100

    Anonymous$50

    Sandra F. Powley$25

    Rosalind & Jerry Richardson$1,000

    Sandy & Claude Hamilton$400

    Anonymous$100

    Anonymous$50

    Anonymous$20

    Coral R. Helms$50

    Ladies Philoptochos Society of Holy Trinity Cathedral$100

    Mary May Gillespie$100

    Chuck & Beth Vogt$100

    Barbara & Jim Adams$150

    Emily & Scott Thomas$150

    Lynn Watson$50

    Anonymous$100

    Summer Dickerson$25

    Bob & Marlene Sautter$100

    Anonymous$100

    Anonymous$50

    Anonymous$200

    Christine Appleton-Scott$100

    Anonymous$100

    Clifton A. & Elaine Poole$100

    Jo Ann Kelly$100

    Anonymous$200

    Anonymous$100

    Gene & Marie Ann Daniels$200

    C.H.O.P.S (Christians Helping Other People)$50

    The Dunn Family$100

    Sonia & Isaac Luski$250

    Mr. & Mrs. Richard Hahn$250

    Anonymous$100

    Anonymous$50

    Anonymous$50

    Selwyn Smith$25

    Sandra & Dave Moser$50

    Anonymous$25

    Horace Palmer$100

    E. R. Coffman$100

    Christine Beloni$150

    Jane Duckwall$100

    Elizabeth Doster$25

    Theresa Rouse$25

    In memory of Charles$100

    Julie Swicegood$100

    Lee Cummins$100

    Laura Reich$30

    Anonymous$700

    Anne Scott$50

    Tyler Mahan$50

    Rachelle Willis$25

    Ellyn Ritterskamp$50

    Anonymous$100

    Sharon Kugelmass$18

    Sarah Tatum$100

    Mary Ferrer$100

    Pan & Rob Johnson$100

    Anthony Marquart$100

    John Garver$50

    Joe Hallow$200

    Ry & Jennie Winston$100

    Bill Vandiver$500

    The fund has raised $38,143 in the 2014 campaign.


  • Help the Summer Camp Fund

    Donate online at www.charlotteobserver.com/summercampfund. Or send donations to The Summer Camp Fund, P.O. Box 37269, Charlotte, NC 28237-7269. Each Sunday during the drive, the Observer will list contributors in the Local section. If you wish to make an anonymous donation, indicate it on the “for” line of your check. If you donate via PayPal and wish to be anonymous, note your preference in the special instructions field. To donate in honor or in memory of someone, please also use the “for” line or special instructions field. Donations are tax deductible and are processed through Observer Charities, a 501(c)(3). If you have questions about your donation, call 704-358-5520.



Paul Moore grew up on Charlotte’s westside, “from humble beginnings,” he said, in a neighborhood where kids didn’t hit golf balls, play tennis or venture off to summer sleep-away camp.

So when at age 8 he received a scholarship to attend YMCA of Greater Charlotte’s Camp Thunderbird on the shores of Lake Wylie, he found himself among kids with backgrounds far different from his.

But instead of shying away from new experiences, Paul became a sponge and used his natural athletic gifts to master new sports. His friendly personality helped him foster close friendships with kids and counselors he otherwise would never have met.

Camp Thunderbird, he said, is what put him on the journey to becoming the man he is today: an attorney, a college professor, and a devoted husband and father.

“I was just a little guy from Beatties Ford Road in west Charlotte. I was learning everything from the moment I stepped on campus,” Moore remembers of that very first summer at camp. “It was immediately a ‘home’ feeling for me.”

He returned to this second “home” summer after summer, becoming a counselor-in-training and later a counselor when he was too old to be a camper.

“I was always a scholarship kid, but my cabin mates never knew that. I treasured camp in a different way, because I knew I was there by blessings and by chance,” he said.

“I was just a good person to them, and they were to me. That’s something I appreciated more as I got older and realized that kids came from all different kinds of houses and had different backgrounds.”

Moore’s parents are both college graduates, but their jobs in teaching and real estate barely covered the bills at times, he recalls. “If I had to pay a dime for camp, I would not have gone.”

He only stopped going to camp when he realized as a college sophomore that he needed to start getting summer jobs and internships related to his majors.

Moore is 34 now and lives in the Miami suburb of Pembroke Pines with his wife, Maya, who is a Broward County trial attorney, and their sons, Liam, 6, and Aiden, 4. Both sons play violin, and Paul Moore now has money to donate to Camp Thunderbird’s scholarship programs from time to time.

Moore said his appreciation for people from varied backgrounds and his ability to relate to almost anyone grew from camp, and it has been the key to many of his successes.

“In almost every school I have attended, I was the president of my class,” he said. “That skill set of being able to comfortably relate to people who are very different – in business, it is just invaluable.

“People have relationships with who they’re comfortable with,” he said. “So I just cannot give enough credit to camp for learning how to work out problems with people who are different, and for exposure to music and the arts – so many things. Without camp, I would have grown up just with who was in my neighborhood, not knowing how much that would have prejudiced me later in life.”

Moore graduated from West Charlotte High School in 1998 and from UNC Chapel Hill in 2002 with degrees in political science and African-American studies. He graduated from Howard University law school in 2006, after which he and his wife moved to south Florida to be closer to her family.

He’s often reminded of the simpler ways camp has helped him, too.

“Even now, if business partners want to go hit some golf balls, I don’t embarrass myself,” he said, laughing. “I got that through camp.”

Kaye Carraway, resident camp director at Camp Thunderbird, has been with the camp for 38 years. She and Moore still keep in touch, and even though years have passed and thousands of other campers have walked through the doors, she still remembers young Paul.

“He had a genuine interest in getting to know other people and genuine concern for everyone, campers and staff,” Carraway said.

Every summer, Carraway said she witnesses the power of camp to bridge cultural, socioeconomic and racial gaps.

“For some kids, I think it helps to create in them an awareness and excitement of what might be,” she said. “The children that come to camp from families that are able to afford these things also experience that. I think it helps foster an appreciation for diversity across all socioeconomic levels and across all levels of professionalism and personal life.

“When children come to camp, they are children,” she said. “We take down all those walls that sometimes society puts up for us.”

Moore said when his boys are old enough, they’ll become campers at Camp Thunderbird, just like their dad. He’ll take them to see his name on the “Gold Bandana” board in the dining hall – signifying his high achievement in camp activities – and they’ll look to see whether “Paul Moore” is still scratched into the cabin walls where he slept as a camper.

“I can’t wait for them to get there,” he said. “Camp has given me a lot. I’ll always want to keep that connection close.”

Bolling: 704-358-5440
Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

The Charlotte Observer welcomes your comments on news of the day. The more voices engaged in conversation, the better for us all, but do keep it civil. Please refrain from profanity, obscenity, spam, name-calling or attacking others for their views.

Have a news tip? You can send it to a local news editor; email local@charlotteobserver.com to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Charlotte Observer.

  Read more



Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

The Charlotte Observer welcomes your comments on news of the day. The more voices engaged in conversation, the better for us all, but do keep it civil. Please refrain from profanity, obscenity, spam, name-calling or attacking others for their views.

Have a news tip? You can send it to a local news editor; email local@charlotteobserver.com to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Charlotte Observer.

  Read more


Quick Job Search
Salary Databases
Your 2 Cents
Share your opinion with our Partners
Learn More
CharlotteObserver.com