Camp Hope, a camp for children with cancer, will remain in Barton County this year in spite of a fire that wiped out the dining hall of the intended camp site.
The Kans for Kids Fighting Cancer Foundation and its Camp Hope committee announced Wednesday that Camp Hope 2014 will be held at Barton Community College in Great Bend. The week of camp will remain unchanged and will start June 15.
Gail Moeder, liaison for the Cape Hope committee, said they have approximately 70 campers signed up and expect more. This is the first year that Kans for Kids has sponsored the camp, which was previously handled by the American Cancer Society. “We should average the same number of campers as in years past,” Moeder said.
Campers and volunteers will stay in BCC dorms, and will use various areas of the campus. Traditional Camp Hope activities that take place in Great Bend will also continue, including a golf tournament for campers at The Club at StoneRidge, she said.
On April 12, fire destroyed the dining hall at the Camp Aldrich Conference Center, which is owned by the college and is located between Claflin and the Cheyenne Bottoms Refuge. It has been the site of Camp Hope for more than 40 years.
The dining hall served as more than just a place for Camp Hope campers to eat. It was the place for activities throughout the day.
Barton’s Dean of Administration Mark Dean announced last week that Camp Aldrich will be closed for the summer into the fall, after the insurance investigators and structural engineers determined the camp unsafe for the public. There is no power, water or utilities in some areas of the camp.
Other events at Camp Aldrich have been canceled, including the Barton Community College Foundation Clay Shoot set for May 4.
Claflin Fire Chief and 911/Communication Director Doug Hubbard said Wednesday that it may take several weeks for the state fire marshal’s office to release its report with the suspected cause of the fire. However, officials announced early on they believe the fire was accidental.
“We would like to thank Mark Dean, (BCC Coordinator of Facility Management) Jim Ireland and BCC for their support in helping make this transition easy,” Moeder said. “They have helped ensure our campers will have another amazing camp experience. The committee would also like to thank the Barton County community for their generosity once again. This area is our Camp home and we are excited that Camp Hope will be there again this year.”