Elaine Frank Apachi Giving Back
As a camp director, I spend all year in “camp mode,” constantly dreaming up amazing projects to help make the summer special. Yes, I am the one who goes shopping for groceries at Target, and end up with inspiration for various art projects, themed activities, and even community service projects. Even while sitting on the couch watching “Survivor”, I’ll dream up ideas for camp. Little did I know that one of these silly ideas would turn into a feel good experience as a camp director…
After my kids went away to college last year I stumbled upon old growth chart banks that were filled with coins. I immediately thought, “How I could repurpose them for camp?” Then it came to me. We’d buy 4 more to make a total of 6 – one for each Maccabi team color. So last summer we added a new “competition” into the games. Campers and staff brought in quarters and the team with the most quarters got extra points for their Maccabi team.
Together as a camp community we collected $585, which was 2,340 quarters in total. We spent the fall deciding how to use the money. We didn’t know how we should use the money to help others, so we enlisted the staff from last summer for suggestions. We decided to cash in the coins for an Amazon gift card and asked the staff to let us know their favorite book, game, or toy from their childhood to purchase and donate to Cradles to Crayons. We had quite the response: Barbies, Legos, Monopoly, books, puzzles, Rummy Q, and more. Altogether, we purchased nearly 50 items to donate for this Mitzvah project. Our staff joined us to wrap all of it up and it brings us such joy to know there were children enjoying some of our favorites this past holiday season.
What started as just another day in camp mode turned in to so much more as now nearly 50 children benefitted from our first annual Maccabi “Quarter” competition.
Written by: Jamee Smith, Director, Elaine Frank Apachi and Apachi Village Lake Zurich