This is not a typical blog post from me.  It isn’t typical because it isn’t about my kids.  It probably isn’t even about your kids.  But it is related and important…so read it anyway.

Full disclosure:  I sit on a board for the Hawkeye Campership Fund.  The HCF is an organization that supports Camp Hawkeye (http://www.camphawkeye.com/).  You can go to the website to learn all about the camp.  Spoiler alert:  I’m asking for your help at the end.

For those who know me, you know that summer camp has been, and continues to be, a huge part of my life.  Its the place where I made many of my best friends, learned a ton of life lessons, and ultimately, met my wife.  In not so many years, our kids will be going to camp.  I could go on for many words on camp and how important it has been for me and for countless other kids throughout the years but I think most people get that so I’ll spare you all…for now.

Rather than try and sell you on what Hawkeye is doing, I’ll include the mission statement directly from their website which pretty much sums it up:

Our mission at Camp Hawkeye is to bring together a diverse community of individuals that include campers and staff from a variety of geographic, socioeconomic, cultural, ethnic, and religious backgrounds.  In this way we seek to bridge social, economic, and cultural gaps to build positive relationships and deep mutual understanding for our young campers.

I went to visit Hawkeye this summer (in Moultonborough, NH).  While I was there, I had the pleasure of getting a tour of camp from 2 campers.  These kids were so excited to show someone “new” around their camp.  Their pride was palpable.  Hawkeye isn’t a huge camp so the tour didn’t take a tremendous amount of time but each second was filled with enough excitement, energy, and detail to fill a small New Hampshire town.  At one point in the tour, when I could get a word in, I asked how many summers they had been coming to camp.

The first kid answered:  “4.”

I said, “Wow, 4 years!  Cool.”

He said, “No, 4 days.  This is my 4th day.”

It was pretty shocking.  When I went away to anywhere new, on the 4th day I was still balled up in the corner with my eyes closed thinking that when I opened them, I’d wake up at home.  This 9 year old kid was giving a tour like he had been at camp for years.  That’s how excited he was to be in that environment; part of that community.

Back to business: Generally, the families that send kids to Camp Hawkeye are middle income, working class, rural or urban low income families.  Ethnic diversity is also critical at Hawkeye with kids and staff who are Black, Hispanic, White, Bi-Racial, etc.  The camp I went to had essentially one kind of person, from essentially one kind of family.  There was and is nothing wrong with that.  Hawkeye is doing something different.

The Hawkeye Campership Fund helps to raise money to send kids to camp.  This past summer, the HCF gave out approximately $82,000 in financial aid.  HCF helped 40 campers experience camp in 2012.  Campers received between $100 and $3000 worth of aid depending on their need and ranged from first time campers to campers in their fifth year.  Those campers came from all over, including Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont, New York, Rhode Island, Georgia, North Carolina, Florida, and even Canada.

Its a pretty cool place that’s providing a pretty cool opportunity for a group of pretty cool kids who might not otherwise have the opportunity if not for the camp and the money.

So, buy raffle tickets.  There are a limited number of tickets available.  Tickets are $35 each or 4 tickets for $100.  The prize is pretty cool:  7 day stay (value of $2000) at a vacation house in Central Vermont (Shrewsbury) along the Appalachian Trail.  Okemo, Pico, and Killington resorts are all within around 20 minutes.  Lots of skiing, snowshoeing, snowmobiling around that area.

The house is pretty great.  You can take a look at pictures here.

If you would like to enter (yes), you can do it online here.  That is a paypal page that allows you to choose how many tickets you want to buy.  If you want to buy 4 tickets, you should use this link.  It will show up with a quantity of 1 for $100 but you will get 4 tickets.  Once you purchase your tickets, your ticket numbers will be emailed to you.  There is also a second prize which is a 80″x80″ artisan handmade quilt.

Help send some kids to camp.

Potentially win a week at a cool house in Vermont.

Tell your friends.