A camp operated by university students,
with support from faculty, alumni and staff,
to serve citizens with physical and mental challenges

The Tufts Daily, November 18, 2003

A weekend of 'Giving'

Tufts' Catholic Center was alive with activity this weekend as The Giving Camp held its fifth camp, bringing to Tufts twelve children from Medford and Somerville, each with some form of disability or disorder.

Throughout the weekend, the children -- and the Tufts students who volunteered to work with them -- did arts and crafts projects, made their own trail mix at snack time, played games, painted murals, and played outside at a local playground. The guests were also treated to performances by the Jackson Jills on Saturday and Traveling Treasure Trunk on Sunday.

The Giving Camp is a non-profit organization at Tufts which aims to serve people with disabilities. The planning for each camp is done primarily by the Student Leadership Team, made up of eight Tufts students, with help from a Steering Committee made up of faculty, administrators, and professionals from the community.

Now that the Giving Camp has completed several camps, organizers hope that it will be a sustainable organization at Tufts.

"My goal is to make it sustainable after I leave," junior and Student Leadership Team member Zach Baker said. "So I hope to get more freshmen involved."

This was the first camp that was organized just for children, and organizers were very pleased with how the event proceeded. "It beat everyone's expectations," Diane Ricciardelli, the Executive Director of the Giving Camp, said.

The 45 Tufts students who volunteered at The Giving Camp were either part of the Camp's list of previous volunteers or students who saw the announcement on Tuftslife.com and wanted to become involved. Because guests this weekend were all children, many of the volunteers were Child Development majors.

This past August, they held the Giving Camp in conjunction with the Leonard Carmichael Society's FOCUS program for incoming freshmen. This served to introduce freshmen to the Giving Camp and get them involved.

Ultimately, however, those who work on the Giving Camp want to serve the needs of people with disabilities.

"The key is we're trying to increase visibility of people with disabilities," Baker said. "This population doesn't always have the opportunity to do things."

--Miriam Sznycer-Taub