Jun 22, 2023

Camp Hope celebrating 41st year at Camp Aldrich

Posted Jun 22, 2023 12:00 PM

Great Bend Post

For the last four-plus decades, Camp Aldrich has turned into a busy place each June. The 41st Annual Camp Hope returned to the camp Monday and will conclude Saturday. KyMel Liaison Gail Moeder said there are 38 campers this year with 84 volunteers. Approximately 20 of those volunteers are returners, and 20 more are former campers who choose to return.

"That's when we know what we're doing is good and right," Moeder said. "Having them come back and want to pay it forward is what it's all about."

Barb Keltner has worked with Camp Hope for 31 years. She creates the newsletters campers can take home to their parents. Monday's news was not so good: someone broke into the kitchen and placed googly eyes on everything. Worse yet, they put bubble wrap under the floor mats and the popping scared everyone. Fortunately, capable detectives are handling the investigation.

Nearly a dozen employees from the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks visited the camp Tuesday. Wildlife officials stocked the local pond with 500 pounds of fish, and campers spent Tuesday morning catching the fish for Tuesday night's fish fry. KWDPT has been helping with the camp for more than 20 years.

"They bring their equipment out," said Moeder. "They provide all the baits and everything and come out and help the campers. I think they have just as much fun doing it as the campers have fishing."

On Wednesday, campers moved into town for fun at the Walnut Bowl and mini golf course, with lunch at the Knights of Columbus. Thursday is the talent show, and Friday night is the dance. Everything in between is for arts and crafts, gaga ball, swimming, and whatever else the kids want to do.

"I can't imagine doing anything else this week of June," Moeder said. "It's just a great opportunity to be able to see these kids have a normal week out of their lives."