Careful planning brings results
Andrée and Roxanne spent many months planning and preparing for the camp, starting with the quest for funding, including their application for the Emerging Leaders in Health Promotion grant. Project mentor and pediatrician, Dr. Melanie Lewis, helped the project leads polish their application. Dr. Lewis also helped recruit participants through her clinic.
With funding confirmed, Andrée and Roxanne secured the venue, Ortona Gymnastics, which subsequently provided the facility and two gymnastics supervisors at no charge. Over the ensuing months, the pair coordinated set-up of the Starlight Performance Camp website, preparation of marketing materials and recruitment of participants, volunteers and guest performers.
When they began last April to recruit children for the camp, “We weren’t getting a lot of immediate interest, and we were a bit concerned,” says Roxanne. That all changed over the two weeks before camp day, July 8, as they received 60% of their applications. The resulting 46 participants generously exceeded their goal of 40 registrants, and a few cancellations netted the final attendance of 34.
“Although we knew prior to Starlight that children with chronic illnesses and disabilities felt restricted by their condition, we didn’t realize to what extent,” Roxanne adds. “When the applications started to flow in, we found out that many children had already attempted dance, gymnastics or cheerleading but had given up, as they felt discouraged and couldn’t keep up with other children.”