The U.S. Bank Foundation, the charitable arm of the U.S. Bank, awarded Wonderland Camp a Community Possible grant for the fourth time in a row May 8th, 2020.

The U.S. Bank Foundation, the charitable arm of the U.S. Bank, awarded Wonderland Camp a Community Possible grant for the fourth time in a row May 8th, 2020. The Community Possible program has awarded “Play” category grants to local organizations promoting arts, cultural and play opportunities within disadvantaged communities since 2017.

Wonderland Camp, an 11-week summer camp in Rocky Mount, Mo. designed for those with special needs, received the grant in support of its mission to provide a fun, educational and safe camp experience for children, teenagers and adults who have disabilities; to offer a respite from daily caregiving for their family members and caregivers; and to provide and nurture a personal development experience for volunteers and staff. Having had to cancel the normal summer session out of an abundance of caution for the safety of campers during the COVID-19 crisis, the $4,000 grant will be used to help provide for special weekend camps later in the year, camp operating expenses and miscellaneous maintenance needs.

Mike Clayton, Wonderland Camp's Director of Fund Development and Communications, said that such contributions are appreciated at any time, but especially welcome after the momentous changes caused by the COVID-19 crisis.

“[Wonderland Camp] encompasses 125 acres—as you can imagine, it costs a lot of money to run a summer camp for people with disabilities of any size, but certainly of that size,” he said. “When we found out we received the U.S. Bank grant for general operating funds, it couldn’t come at a better time—we were completely elated. We’re thrilled to have U.S. Bank in the community…they’re good stewards of the community and always take care of those in need.”

The reason the camp receives such support year after year, Clayton believes, is because it has made responsible use of its donors’ funds throughout their 50-year history. “We operate our camp debt-free, and not a lot of non-profits can say that,” he said. “I think they [U.S bank] realize that Wonderland serves an important purpose.”

The grant was part of the U.S. Bank Foundation’s commitment to creating vibrant communities in its 25-state service area. The Community Possible grant “focuses on closing the gaps between people and possibility in the areas of Work, Home and Play.”

Clayton agreed that summer camps like Wonderland have helped make a real difference in the quality of life for those with disabilities, especially in regard to outdoor play.

“Back in 1969, when Charles Miller founded the Camp…special needs people didn’t have an opportunity to go outside as much and to participate in play like other kids did,” he said. “He wanted people outside swimming, boating, fishing, shooting at the archery range, shooting BB guns, mini-golfing, rock climbing, and crossing the Burma Bridge, all the things that Wonderland Camp is now.”