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Camp Corral is a weeklong camp for children of military families, ages 8 through 15, with precedence given to dependents of disabled or fallen service members. It is a time for youth with similar backgrounds to come together in a safe environment, forge friendships, experience the great-outdoors and to just plain have fun. The camp is funded entirely by Golden Corral Corporation.
There are 18 Camp Corral locations across the U.S. This was the second Camp Corral my son has attended. Last year he attended Camp Corral at Canter’s Cave 4-H Camp in Jackson, Ohio; this year he attended Camp Corral at West Kentucky 4-H Camp in Dawson Spring’s.
Camp Corral was from July 28- through Aug. 2. Upon arrival we immediately were greeted by enthusiastic camp counselor, Kayla Doyle, of Elizabethtown. We also were made welcome by West KY 4-H Camp director, Beth Covington, numerous camp counselors, staff and Camp Corral affiliates. We then met with Doug Higdon, owner of Golden Corral in Elizabethtown, who thanked each service member and their family for their sacrifice and contribution to our country. Project Linus –Middle Tennessee Chapter, presented each camper with a cozy, homemade blanket for comfort and support. Families received gift cards while campers received backpacks stuffed with essential camping items. Photos of service members were hung on a Wall of Honor. Every family felt appreciated.
Throughout the week, 67 campers participated in various activities such as riflery and trap, archery, climbing wall and zip line, low ropes, canoeing, nature, outdoor games, cooking, disc golf, leatherworking, rocketry, fishing, hands-on science, swimming, skits and more. Additionally, a special concert was held on Tuesday evening by members of the “Kentucky Opry’s Stars of Tomorrow” group. By the end of the week the campers were exhausted from all of the activity, but also were talking amongst each other about meeting up again at Camp Corral next year. They truly enjoyed themselves. Sometimes it’s easy to overlook the effects that living a military lifestyle can have on children, especially children who have lost a parent in the line of duty, but this past week was made for them. It was all about the children.
These memories would have never been made possible without the sponsorship of Golden Corral. We would like to thank all who participated in sending these 67 children to Camp Corral for the ‘week of a lifetime.’ Thank you, to all of the employees of the Elizabethtown Golden Corral. Thank you, Doug Higdon and Golden Corral managers Carla, Jennifer and Owen. An extra special thank you to Fred and Barbie Franks, a local couple who selflessly volunteered their time gathering items donated by local businesses for a raffle specifically to raise money for Camp Corral. Thank you to everyone who bought those raffle tickets. Thank you Beth Covington and the entire West Kentucky 4-H Camp staff, for running a champion program this year. Thank you, Project Linus –Middle Tennessee Chapter and everyone who made blankets for the children.
Military families and veterans truly value the support of their community. Our children were able to experience, first-hand, the outpouring of love from members of their own community. They will cherish these memories for the rest of their lives.
Erika J. Steen