HomeMoorestown News'A lot of smiles'

‘A lot of smiles’

Mission Voice 5K race/walk benefits township's summer programs

Special to The Sun
The Mission Voice and Quaker Wealth Management race and walk next month will take place at Strawbridge Lake.

The Moorestown parks and recreation department will hold a summer camp for children and young adults with special needs during the month of July.

“This program, it’s so important not just for the child, but for the families,” said Theresa Miller, director of parks and recreation. “It’s important for everyone to have a full day of camp, to be with their friends, to have physical activity, to have music, to have art, and to just play and enjoy themselves.”

- Advertisement -

To alleviate the financial burden to families, the parks and rec camp has always been subsidized either through government or private funding, according to the township’s site. In 2008, the state’s Department of Community Affairs provided a grant of $8,000, with a 20% match from the township. Shortly thereafter, state funding decreased.

The Moorestown Education Foundation provided a mini grant of $3,000 in 2011, along with numerous private donations to keep the camp program going. From 2013 until now, significant fundraising partners have enabled the program to grow from the original 10 participants to 60.

“Each year, the kids have become really good friends,” Miller said.

Summer camp staffing – certified special needs supervisors, regular staff and a registered nurse – transportation and curriculum, including field trips, is a major undertaking that would not be realized without fundraising from Moorestown’s nonprofit partners, notes the township website.

A critical component to the camp’s success is its staff. In 2019, there were 55 campers with a 21-person staff, including certified special ed teachers and at least two registered nurses. Camp was held virtually in 2020 and returned in person the following year. In 2022, attendance was up 12% from the previous year, and attendance last year increased as well.

Special to The Sun
“There’s a lot of smiles and there’s a lot of friendships and it really makes us all so happy how much everyone enjoys this day,” parks and rec department director Theresa Miller said of the run/walk.

Brian and Kimberly Fischel’s annual Sean Fischel Connect Foundation 5K run/1-mile walk funded the camp from 2013 to 2018. Five years ago, Jay and Lisa O’Donnell’s nonprofit, Mission Voice, continued where the Fischels left off, with the Mission Voice and Quaker Wealth Management 5K race/1-mile walk.

This year’s event will be held at Strawbridge Lake on Saturday, April 20, and will raise funds for all of the rec department’s inclusive programming: the summer camp, Challenger Baseball, soccer, S.M.A.S.H. (Social Meeting after School Hours), family game night, karaoke and holiday parties. The proceeds benefit more than 300 children and young adults. Packet pickup for the race starts at 8 a.m., and the race kicks off at 9.

“There’s a lot of smiles and there’s a lot of friendships and it really makes us all so happy how much everyone enjoys this day,” Miller observed of the race. “It really is a wonderful event to see everyone.”

If you cannot attend the race but would like to make a donation, visit https://runsignup.com/Race/Donate/NJ/Moorestown/MissionVoice5k.

For more information on the rec department’s summer camp, go to www.moorestown.nj.us/506/Summer-Camps.


Stay Connected

- Advertisment -

Current Issue