By Jack Aler ‘19
Do you ever feel like there is a void in your heart? Do you feel destined to fulfill this void? If you answered no to both of those questions, please kindly continue reading. We can help fill your heart here at Brother Rice. We run Edmund Rice Camp.
Edmund Rice Camp (ERC) is a week long summer camp for underprivileged children that takes place on our Brother Rice campus. It is run by fearless leaders Mr. Augustyn and Mrs. England, as well as Brother Rice students.
Br. Patrick Martin and Br. Paul Ickes founded ERC at Brother Rice High School. They followed the example of schools in Ireland, Australia, and Africa to create the first Edmund Rice Camp in North America.
I have been a part of Edmund Rice Camp since my incoming freshman year, and I now am honored to be a part of our leadership team. With all of that experience, I know a lot about ERC’s goals and ambitions.
The leaders, as well as counselors, put in an extensive amount of effort throughout the year. Head leader Thomas Durkin agrees, saying, “We are very excited for Edmund Rice Camp this year. All of the leaders, counselors, and I cannot wait to get started on working towards making camp a great experience for all of our campers. Many of us have started working tirelessly and we could definitely use help from anybody and everybody interested. It is truly a great experience and provides us with an amazing opportunity to give back to our community.”
Each year the goal for fundraising is $10,000. I know people may be thinking, “$10,000 for a week long camp? That seems excessive.” Actually it is on the lower spectrum, these children are receiving a full lunch each day, a lunch to take home with them, various snacks throughout the day, and in years past on the last day of camp, each camper gets a brand new ball to take home. Whether it is a basketball, volleyball, or soccer ball, these kids are ecstatic to receive it.
I asked Mrs. England what types of fundraising was done in the past, and she said, “In the early years we volunteered to help at races downtown. The group would then earn money based on how many volunteers I brought to the races. We worked City Chase as volunteers at the various stations around the downtown area. Guys changed tires, greased watermelons, flew kites, shaved balloons, handled cockroaches, jumped hurdles, monitored races, and more. On the way home, we laughed about all of the crazy activities and the people who participated. We also worked at the Polar Plunge, handing out towels to plungers, which was especially cool being that many celebrities attended this.”
In more recent years, Mrs. England initiated fundraising opportunities such as the selling of Fannie Mae candy, ERC water bottles, Albanese gummy bears, Christmas stocking raffle tickets, and organic honey.
Another factor that has kept ERC afloat is the generous donations from anyone who wishes to help.
Mrs. England said, “One year, a counselor’s family decided to make ERC their Christmas cause. The family raised over $500 for ERC. My family donates to the camp each year as do many of the families of the counselors. Last year, Dr. Burns’ mother, Eileen Neary, made a substantial contribution to the camp. Furthermore, some anonymous donors add to our cause. Families also contribute snacks and supplies, reducing our operating costs.”
Fundraising is really the only obstacle in running this camp each year. But I have good news for you.
Anyone can be a part of this camp and help donate.
Donating has multiple meanings, and ERC would be grateful for any type.
If any buisness organization would like to participate, ERC would be honored to have you donate a lunch to our campers.
If you are a student at Brother Rice, please consider donating your time. Being in ERC is a wonderful experience, not to mention you receive a minimum of 40 service hours, which knocks out your required quota. Any current members and new members you can help us soon after signing up. Be sure to talk to Mrs. England or Mr. Augustyn about our current fundraiser that we need your help with: selling organic honey.
Donating anything is an investment you will not regret. Once you step foot into this camp the feeling you get is unparalleled.
Everyone has a unique favorite part in this experience. Mr. Augustyn said, “I think my favorite part of ERC is watching the interaction between campers and counselors, particularly the younger campers. The care and concern demonstrated by the counselors and the joy and wonder on the faces of these young campers is a joy to behold. It is why I continue to work the camp.”
Anyone who wishes to give please contact Mrs. England at email@example.com