"And, in particular, with the work we do at Rotary's Camp Florida in Brandon, where children with special needs and challenges can enjoy year-round the wonderful experiences of camping," said Betty Jo Tompkins, a past district governor, in a telephone interview after the commissioners' meeting. "The camp started here in Brandon, but now every Rotary district in the state of Florida supports the camp and its mission."
The camp serves children from throughout Florida with medical conditions, including cancer, muscular dystrophy, diabetes and AIDS and HIV. "To show you what a dramatic effect we have, we have had children come to the camp who have passed away while they were at camp or shortly after," Tompkins said. "Their last wish was to come in and enjoy camp and be like a normal person, without concern for their illnesses or disabilities."
Tompkins added that the camp also services children whose families have been victims of homicide.
Moreover, she said, "there is even a 4-H dog camp, where we teach children how to train their dogs." In two years, she said, the camp will accept its first international campers.
"This camp is a huge success thanks to the dedicated efforts of the camp staff as well as thousands of Rotarians and other volunteers who help us, almost on a daily basis," Tompkins said. "Receiving the award today was a wonderful honor for everyone involved because the camp is so important not only to Brandon, but to the entire state."
With Tompkins to receive the commendation from the commissioners were James Harmon, the camp's executive director, and his wife, Deb. Also, Rotarians Tom Wagner, Ed Johns and Leo Diaz, as well as past district governors Randy Kizer, Jamie Mick and Alan Feldman. This is the group that is pictured in a photo posted on the Rotary District 6890 Facebook page.
Other Rotarians also were in attendance.
Johns in his Facebook comment thanked the Rotarians who took the time to attend the commissioners' Aug. 21 meeting. As Johns noted: "This shows the true passion we have for Rotary's Camp Florida."
About Rotary's Camp Florida
- The 21-acre camp is in Brandon, off Lakewood Drive, nestled between two lakes and canopied by grand oak trees. The camp is secluded, but only minutes away from Interstate 4, Interstate 75, numerous shopping centers and five hospitals.
- The camp offers both day and overnight rentals. The camp consists of air-conditioned cabins that sleep 50- to-100 campers as well as a kitchen, dining hall, assembly hall, library, pavilion, fire pit and pool. Boating is available.
- For more, see Rotary's Camp Florida
- For more on the history of the camp, and how the Rotarians came to purchase the camp facility, once owned by a United Methodist church, visit Rotary's Camp Florida online.
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