DUNDEE, Fla. — Camp Endeavor’s attendance rate has been growing since it was first established in the 1970’s but its financial resources are dwindling.
The once-a-year social and educational meet up for the Deaf Community is imperative for the 90 or so campers that enlist each year.
“We’ve had many generations, many families, that the parents have attended here as children some have even met here, married and have gone on to have children and now their children come to camp,” Lauren Hartman, with Camp Endeavor said.
During the two week camp, children are able to fine-tune their American Sign Language skills, meet other children who are deaf or hard of hearing, and for once feel included.
“It just creates a place where everyone is equal, everyone can communicate,” Lauren Hartman, said.
But, this years camp may be canceled due to a shortfall of financial income.
Lauren Hartman, with Camp Endeavor, says their yearly budget is about $75,000 to support the 150 people, including campers and staff, which reside at the Dundee camp for two weeks during the summer each year.
With a little less than half a year until camp begins, they’ve barely reached their half way mark.
Without the funds, the camp cannot afford to provide for the children who depend on the camp.
Staff members say they do not want the cost to prohibit families from attending the camp.
In the past, the camp has had to shorten their time to about one week for similar reasons.
The camp costs families only $200 per child that attends, compared to other residential camps which can be more expensive.
Other funds come from RV and building rentals, which Camp Endeavor offers throughout the rest of the year when campers are not staying there.
According to Hartman, Sertoma International, founded in 1912, has always focused their efforts towards those who are Deaf.
Originally, Sertoma Clubs throughout FL had been the primary source of Camp Endeavor’s financial support.
Hartman also says civic clubs in general are closing at an alarming rate.
Members in the remaining clubs are now being forced to shoulder more and more responsibility with fewer and fewer members.
Therefore, Camp Endeavor is suffering.
Camp Endeavor is the only residential camp in Florida.
“I don’t want to lose this culture, this community and this opportunity for the Deaf Community and their children,” said Lauren Hartman.
Now, camp organizers are asking the public for their support.
For more information on how to donate, contact the Camp Endeavor president, Ray Rogers.
Phone: (863) 258-0000