July 21, 2010

Touch of Nature reception will honor donors

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- The philosophy of Camp Little Giant at Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s Touch of Nature Environmental Center is “can do.”

The generosity of a special group of people makes it possible for children and adults with disabilities to have a genuine summer camp “can do” experience for themselves, and an upcoming event honors the people who help make it all happen.

A Donor Appreciation Reception, set for 3-5 p.m. on Tuesday, July 27, gives the camp and the University the opportunity to say “Thank you” to everyone who provides their time and financial support to keep Touch of Nature and its programming going. Numerous benefactors as well as SIUC administrators and officials are among the invited guests for the reception.

The festivities are at Sledgefoot Lounge in Freeberg Hall at Touch of Nature Environmental Center’s Camp II. The center is located about eight miles south of Carbondale on Giant City Road.

Media Advisory

Reporters, photographers and news crews are welcome to cover the Friends of Touch of Nature Donor Appreciation Reception at 3 p.m., July 27, at Sledgefoot Lounge in Freeberg Hall. It is located at the Touch of Nature Environmental Center, about eight miles south of Carbondale on Giant City Road. For more information, call 618/453-1121.

“The people who donate to Camp Little Giant make a world of difference to the camp participants. Camp Little Giant has been helping individuals for more than 50 years. The continued support of the donors will help to ensure that this great legacy will continue for many years to come,” said Alan Teska, interim assistant director of Touch of Nature Environmental Center.

Opening in 1952 as the first university-affiliated residential camping program in the U.S. for individuals with disabilities, Camp Little Giant has given thousands of youths and adults with disabilities a complete outdoor camp adventure. Teska said generous donors give their gifts of time and money to Camp Little Giant and Touch of Nature programming through payroll deductions, individual contributions and through various organizations, including school districts.

”We are so thankful for our campers at Camp Little Giant to receive donations from people in the community. The donations include monetary funds to provide camper scholarships for those who would not otherwise be able to afford camp as well as gifts of medical and activity supplies to help assure Camp Little Giant is a safe, healthy, quality experience for those attending,” said Vickie Lang-Mendenhall, therapeutic recreation specialist and director of Camp Little Giant.

Touch of Nature Environmental Center encompasses 3,100 acres along the shores of Little Grassy Lake. The facility is home to a wide variety of programs, camps, activities and therapeutic recreation programs throughout the year.

To find out more about Touch of Nature, visit the website at www.ton.siu.edu, call 618/453-1121 or e-mail tonec@siu.edu.