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Kans for Kids needs private funding to keep the Camp Hope fires burning
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Derek Fredrick, Great Bend Optimist Club president, left, presents a donation to Gail Moeder, representative of Kans for Kids and Camp Hope, while Jim Mayberry, Optimist member, looks on. Kans for Kids is now the sponsor of Camp Hope and contributions are being accepted. - photo by COURTESY PHOTO

Kans for Kids Fighting Cancer Foundation Inc. officially assumed responsibility for Camp Hope Aug. 1 and now the serious work begins.
The non-profit foundation will supply some funding to the camp for kids who have had or do have cancer, but not nearly enough. Kans for Kids must rely on private donations from individuals and businesses to raise the estimated $150,000 for each year’s Camp Hope.
“The main thing now is funding,” said Debbie Reif of Hoisington, co-director of Kans for Kids with her husband, Duane. “There has been a little confusion about how Camp Hope will be financed and we want to clear it up.”
Ten percent of the proceeds from Kans for Kids fundraisers will be earmarked for Camp Hope.
Camp Hope is a committee of Kans for Kids, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping children in Barton County who are living with cancer. Much of its financing is the result of aluminum-can recycling.
The Camp Hope sponsorship will allow Kans for Kids to branch out into the rest of the state and beyond.
The American Cancer Society announced last spring it would no longer fund 42 camps across the country, including the week-long Camp Hope in Barton County. Another non-profit sponsor was needed and Kans for Kids stepped in to fill the void.
“After the society’s announcement,” Reif said, “we started talking about the ‘what ifs?’ Then our board voted unanimously to take on this challenge. There was little hesitation.”
Reif noted that the society and Gail Moeder of Great Bend are instrumental in making this transition. Moeder wears two hats; she is a Kans for Kids board member and Camp Hope Committee member.
“Gail is our bridge between Kans for Kids and Camp Hope,” Reif said. “Camp Hope will benefit Kans for Kids and vice versa. Our mission is to provide financial and emotional support to children and their families.
“We have a bond with these kids who were ecstatic and relieved when they learned Camp Hope will carry on,” Reif continued. “The community and families have given us positive feedback so we know we did the right thing. Now we need the community’s financial support.”
Moeder mentioned that the Kans for Kids board had been talking about broadening its scope but didn’t know what direction that could take. Then came the society’s announcement.
“We thought this may be our way to reach more kids throughout Kansas and Missouri,” Moeder said. “Camp Hope is so important to the kids. They were devastated when they thought there might not be a Camp Hope in the future. We couldn’t disappoint them.”
Next year’s Camp Hope is set for June 15-22 at Camp Aldrich and it will offer the same events for kids, including the golf tournament and scavenger hunt.
“We don’t want to make a lot of changes,” Moeder said. “We want this to be a smooth transition.”
Stephanie Weiter, the society’s regional vice president, said she is pleased that Camp Hope Committee members are taking charge.
“They are continuing to provide their years of experience in the planning of Camp Hope,” Weiter said. “We wish Kans for Kids and everyone involved with Camp Hope all the best in continuing its 32-year tradition of providing a place where children with cancer can just be kids and have fun.”
For more information, contact Gail Moeder by calling 620-793-9052. Donations may be mailed to Camp Hope, c/o Kans for Kids, P.O. Box 178, Hoisington, KS 67544.