She loved cold lakes, campfires, frogs

Carol King remembers how, as a child, she would escape city life by traveling to the mountains of Western North Carolina to attend summer camp.

King, a 65-year-old Charlotte resident, recalls bunking in a screened-in cabin, jumping into cold lakes, and sitting by a campfire. She also distinctly remembers how different frogs sounded in the woods.

"I knew what the frogs were, but I had never heard them so loud," King said.

In the late 1950s, King and her brother attended the Observer Fresh Air Camp, an affordable day camp for children in Charlotte.

While she does not remember daily activities, she does recall matching her brother in green shorts, and said, "I did have wonderful camp memories."

She also traveled to Mill Spring, N.C., with the Girl Scouts at Camp Occoneechee, for two weeks every summer. King now is donating money to The Summer Camp Fund so Charlotte-area children can attend summer camp like she once did.

"Just the thought that a child could not go to camp and have those experiences of campfires, weenie roasts and being with other kids made donating appealing," King said.

The Summer Camp Fund, an initiative created last spring by The Charlotte Observer and the nonprofit Partners in Out-of-School Time, will allow children from low-income families throughout the Charlotte region to attend outdoor camps.

King donated to the fund because every child should have the opportunity to go to camp and make fun memories. Donating also provides children with an opportunity they might not have, she said.

"The anonymous pleasure of having a child be surprised is a little bit of a secret thrill," King said. "No matter what (readers) can afford to give, they are donating to a larger cause."