More than 60 members of Phi Kappa Tau fraternity from across the country gathered together at Camp Korey on the weekend of March 29 to volunteer their time and efforts helping Camp Korey prepare for spring and summer programs. For two and a half days during less than cooperative weather, the fraternity brothers spent time building, painting, cleaning, and laying gravel, in preparation for the arrival of the children with life-altering medical conditions and their families served by the camp.
Camp Korey sits on the 818-acre Carnation Farm property with fully adaptable program areas including a wheelchair-accessible zip line and climbing wall, all part of the cost-free camp experience for northwest families. “Without volunteers, Camp Korey wouldn’t exist,” said Hillary Carey, the camp’s executive director. “The local Phi Kappa Tau chapters and the national fraternity have been incredible partners, not only to us, but to all of the camps in SeriousFun Children’s Network.”
Founded by actor, philanthropist and Phi Kappa Tau alum Paul Newman (Ohio Univ., 1943), SeriousFun Children’s Network, of which Camp Korey is a member, is a global family of 30 camps and programs that provide year-round opportunities for children with serious medical conditions to have the life-changing experience of camp, free of charge. Since 1995, Phi Kappa Tau has adopted SeriousFun Children’s Network as its national charity partner, raising funds and volunteering their time so that more kids can go to camp.
“Service is at the core of what we do, and when we sought out an organization whose work would inspire the brothers, we didn’t have to look too far,” says Jordan Loeb, national service advisor, Phi Kappa Tau organization.
Phi Kappa Tau hosted its previous National Service Weekend in 2013 at Flying Horse Farms, the SeriousFun Camp in Mt. Gilead, OH, and plans to continue to celebrate its national partnership by gathering at a different camp every year.
“Our goal is to create an emotional connection to the camp that will inspire the brothers to share the experience with their local chapters and communities and strengthen a 20-year partnership with SeriousFun Children’s Network,” Loeb says. “We’re going for the ripple effect.”
The fraternity doesn’t just lend its time. Whether selling pumpkins to raise money at Ohio State or hosting benefit dinners at the University of Washington, chapters around the country raise money and awareness to ensure the camps’ programs are offered free of charge. As a national organization, Phi Kappa Tau contributes nearly $100,000 to SeriousFun camps every year, including to Camp Korey.
Camp Korey’s mission is to honor the courage, strength, and determination of children living with serious and life-altering medical conditions and their families; and to provide them with a safe, friendly, medically sound environment in which to simply have fun and be kids. For more information visit: www.campkorey.org