The Taylorville Kiwanis Club heard about Camp New Hope during their weekly meeting Tuesday at the Taylorville Moose Lodge.
Eric Jostes of Pana is part of a committee that raises funds to send Christian County children and youth that are developmentally disabled, to Camp New Hope near Mattoon.
The idea of a camp began with a parent group of children with disabilities that held meetings to support each other, back in 1954. They established a school for their children in Mattoon in 1957, which was then absorbed into the Mattoon School District in 1969.
Also in 1969, the school district donated 41 acres along Lake Mattoon for the parents’ group to build a camp where children and youth could attend one-week and single day camps, called Camp New Hope.
With volunteer labor and lots of fund raising, Jostes says the camp has grown over the years, and still provides these services today with a full-time staff of 4 as well as volunteers.
Jostes became part of a committee in the Pana area that raised funds to send children with disabilities to the camp, and that committee expanded into the rest of Christian County in 2015. Since that time, close to 35 local children have benefited from the camp each year.
Kiwanis members Blain Cornwell and Dennis Barnard were recognized for heading a committee that manned gates at the recent Illinois State Fair as a fund-raiser for Kiwanis. State Fair officials will be giving monies to several non-profit organizations that provided manpower for the Fair gates, including the local Kiwanis Club, in October.
The Taylorville Kiwanis Club is part of global organization of volunteers dedicated to improving the world one child and one community at a time. Weekly meetings are held Tuesdays at noon at the Taylorville Moose Lodge. For information on the club, go to taylorvillekiwanis.com.