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6-30-09 Marissa Witten's letter to the KV Sun - 2009/07/03 09:43 SOURCE: http://www.kvsun.com/articles/2009/07/02/opinion/letters/doc4a4a73839fa21609920021.txt
Published on Tuesday, June 30, 2009 10:11 PM PDT
Keep Camp KEEP
Marissa Witten, Letter to the Kern Valley Sun

Hello, I am Marissa Witten. I am currently a seventh grader. Last year I went to Camp KEEP. I learned so much in a week, like what type of flowers there are, reptiles, amphibians, and how the wildlife lives. I think you guys should keep Camp KEEP because we have been doing it for a long time and it wouldn’t be fair to the fifth graders now not to be able to go. It is also an educational camp too, so it would be good for them to get out of the house for a week and learn about nature.

That would be very depressing if they didn’t get to have the same experience as we did. I remember when I went to Camp KEEP, me, Alex, Christine and Cassie were with our group down by the tide pools. Out of nowhere the tide pool came in and soaked us and we were wet all day until we got back to camp.

My little brother is a fifth grader and next year he will be a sixth grader and I want him to share the same experience as I did. So that’s why they shouldn’t cut Camp KEEP.

Donations can be made to help support the continuation of the Camp KEEP experience. Please make your checks or money orders payable to: Colt Booster Club, Memo: 2009-2010 Camp KEEP, and sent to: Woodrow Wallace Middle School, P.O. Box 3077, Lake Isabella, CA 93240

Marissa Witten
Wallace Middle School
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Kern Valley Sun 7-29-09: Science Night rocks Kern River Brewery - 2009/08/02 08:56 SOURCE: http://www.kvsun.com/articles/2009/08/01/kv_life/people/doc4a6f2e5c36045907798850.txt
Kern Valley Sun 7-29-09:
Science Night rocks Kern River Brewery
Bob Walker
Special to the Sun

The Kern River Brewery owners set aside Tuesday, July 21 from 4:00 to 9:00 p.m. for local students to participate in and show science experiments. Allison Bogart, 8th grade science teacher at Woodrow Wallace School in Lake Isabella organized the “hands on” activities. Katharine Edmundson, science teacher at Camp Owen, brought in a large collection of animal skulls and other exhibits.

The place was packed, with the young people out on the lawn, enjoying and learning from their exhibits. One large tub contained something called “Non-Newtonieum goo.” If you slap it, it’s hard. But when you try to pick it up it turns to liquid.

Another group of youngsters made silly putty from common ingredients. Behind them were the adults, selling 50/50 raffle tickets to raise money so that local students will be able to attend Camp KEEP, a coastal biology camp for Kern County kids.

“It was a huge success,” said organizer Heather Berry-Lane. “Staight donations and 50/50 ticket sales totalled approximately $1,000 and the donation from sales at the Brewery was $1,400! It’s fantastic; we had huge support from the Brewery and the community.. tons of volunteers and support.”

Local school districts faced budget cuts, and funding for students to attend Camp KEEP was one of those on the chopping block. But with a lot of effort by local people and businesses, enough money was raised that the Kernville Union School District agreed to add additional funds and put the valuable program back on track.



“This is a perfect example of locals making things happen for locals,” said organizers. When the dramatic impact of budget cuts, i.e. no funding for Camp KEEP, came to light, Heather Berry-Lane, Shellie Tito, Deb Monahan, Debbie Campbell, Steve Brucker, Renee Bosmans, Allie Bogart, Kim Bedard, Holly O’Campo, Shawna Hester, Emma Lane, Becky Starr, Spencer Harris, Lynn Block, Auburina Hood, Amiee Steers and Judy Fair-Spaulding rolled up their sleeves and got creative.

Tuesday evening’s event demonstrated how the community comes together when groups or individuals need assistance. The Kern River Brewery, owned by Kyle and Michelle Smith, and Eric and Rebecca Giddons (the silver medal winner in Kayaking at the Olympics helf five years ago in Greece), not only gave an evening of their establishment, but also all the net profits went to Camp KEEP. “This was a classic example of ‘No’ not being an acceptable answer,” said Fair-Spalding.

The Kern River Brewery is not the only business helping to fund Camp KEEP. The Knights of Columbus from St. Jude Catholic Church in Wofford Heights are having a Follies Talent Show at the Reel Cinema on Aug. 8, with 50 percent of the proceeds earmarked for Camp KEEP. El Rio, the restaurant next to the Shell station in Kernville is hosting a “Take out to the Park” beginning at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday Aug. 29, with proceeds going to the Camp KEEP fund. The Pizza Barn in Kernville plans to announce a fall event for Camp KEEP.

While organizers’ initial goal was to ensure that current students could attend Camp KEEP, they knew they had to develop ongoing events that could fund the program year after year.

Donation cans and flyers for Camp Keep have been distributed in more than 20 businesses throughout the valley.

Many people who have attended Camp Keep over the last 40 years have come forward with testimonials saying how important their Camp KEEP experiences were to their development in life. To a person they have made donations for our present group of children.

If you are interested in helping Camp KEEP, contact Deb Monahan (760) 379-4959, or Heather Berry-Lane hberrylane@yahoo.com.

PHOTO BELOW:
While at the dry ice experiment table, Tara Monahan, left, Abby Steers, center, and Robin Bedard prepare for a soap fight during the Camp KEEP "Science Night" fund-raiser at the Kern River Brewing Company in Kernville July 21.
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