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Orleans County kids, ages 6 to 12, encouraged to sign up for camp this summer

Photo by Tom Rivers: Andrew Szatkowski of Medina helps unload a bus from Community Action that brought the kids back from camp last summer. Szatkowski helped sign up many of the children for camp, and was a chaperone on the bus ride there and back.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 3 April 2019 at 8:47 pm

Photos courtesy of Andrew Szatkowski: Andrew Szatkowski took this selfie last July when he arrived at a camp with excited kids from Orleans County.

There will be a big push to sign up children in Orleans County for a five-day camp this summer.

Andrew Szatkowski of Medina is trained by the Salvation Army to help people fill out the online application for the camp, which is free and open to children ages 6 to 12. The camp is funded through donations from the Red Kettle drive.

Last year Szatkowski had signups at the four local public libraries. He will be back again to assist families and guardians in signing up children.

Szatkowski will be at the following local libraries from 4 to 7 p.m. to help people register for camp on-line:

• Lee-Whedon Memorial Library in Medina on April 11 and May 9

• Hoag Library in Albion on April 18 and May 16

• Community Free Library in Holley on April 25

• Yates Community Library in Lyndonville on May 2

The camp will run from July 24-29, “where kids can experience awesome summer camp fun in a safe and healthy environment,” Szatkowski said. The camp is located on the western shoreline of Seneca Lake. It has been operating since the 1950s “providing incredible memories for countless children, all at no cost to the families,” he said.

Szatkowski said the children last summer gained confidence during the time away, overcoming some initial fears about being away from home. At the camp they went fishing, took swimming lessons, used a lower-ropes course, played Gaga ball, attended church and enjoyed other activities.

Szatkowski wants to break the record of 41 kids from Orleans County attending Long Point Camp in Penn Yan.

After a week at camp, the kids were zonked out and asleep for the ride home.

The 22 kids last year were up from the 7 from Orleans in 2017.

The applications need to be filled out electronically. That was a barrier for many families in 2017. Szatkowski said the libraries all have public internet access and he is happy to help get the children signed up.

Szatkowski attended Camp Troutburg, a former Salvation Army camp in Kendall, when he was a kid and he said it was a big highlight of his childhood. He wanted others locally to have a similar experience.

Parents and guardians need to print out a Salvation Army medical form and have a doctor sign it as part of the application. They also need to provide medical and dental insurance cards, and proof of address, which could be a utility bill.

While Szatkowski pushed to have more local children attend the camp last summer, several other people also stepped up to help with the effort.

He and his wife Sara served as chaperones for the bus ride to the camp and back last summer. Szatkowski also was at the camp for a day when he joined his brother in serving 300 Chick-Fil-A meals to the 170 campers and staff. Jimmer Szatkowski opened a Chick-Fil-A in February 2018 in Cicero near Syracuse. Jimmer donated the food to the campers and staff. He will be back again this year.

Mackenzie Sullivan, a registered nurse and nursing supervisor from Orleans Community Health, donated her time as nurse to check medications before children left for camp to ensure all kids were set to go. Community Action also helped to sign up kids, scan documents, and provide facilities and direction.

Dirk Climenhaga, a staff member at Hoag Library in Albion, also helped sign up four children for the camp.

Brenda Jo Nanni of Holley knitted soap bar bags for each of the campers and gave them each a small toy in case they felt homesick. Someone also gave each camper a new pillow, pillowcase and travel kit.

Szatkowski said people interested in applying can attend the session at the libraries, email him at aszat74@yahoo.com or call him at 585-205-0581.

He also expects the campers will need a second bus this year. Any person or business interested in helping to sponsor the extra bus is encouraged to contact him.

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