The Brainerd Noon Sertoma Club had an opportunity to get firsthand knowledge of its partnership with Camp Sertoma, a project it started and helps fund.
Camp Sertoma was the brainchild of the late Jon Haapajoki and has been growing steadily since its inception in 1999.
Jenni Bailey, a counselor and a camper all were part of the officer induction ceremony July 12 at Confidence Learning Center. Dave Clausen became the new Sertoma president with his slate of officers including co-treasurers Darrel Larson and Joyce Anderson, secretary Jean Mershon and vice presidents Jeff Birks, Steve Mau and Julia Sullivan. Tami Webb, regional governor, conducted the ceremony.
Noon Sertomans took a short tour on the SS Michael, which was donated to Camp Confidence by fellow member Rod Converse. Pam Sachs
Bailey talked about her involvement in her favorite part of programs at Confidence Learning Center, Camp Sertoma. The regular staff is in culture shock for the two weeks that deaf and hard-of-hearing children descend on Confidence Learning Center. Many deaf and hard-of-hearing children across the state enjoy this unique opportunity to form lasting relationships with their peers.
One former camper is now a counselor and the second week session added for older kids focuses on encouraging more of these "graduates." Bailey talked about the Gallaudet College students who agree to come to camp as salaried employees and end up donating their salaries back to the cause.
Sertomans chuckled when a large cheer wafted up from downstairs where the campers were playing bingo and Bailey explained that deaf and hard-of-hearing camp is definitely not quiet. "We appreciate all the hard work at non-glamorous projects that Sertomans do to contribute to Camp Sertoma," she said.
Jeff Olson added, "Minnesota Sertoma Clubs have learned more in the past four years about the Sertoma deaf and hard-of-hearing 'cause' than we learned in all of our previous years as Sertomans thanks to this firsthand experience."
Camp Sertoma did not fit the original mission of Camp Confidence, but it does now.
Camp Sertoma is not a structured learning experience, which makes it unique. Cabins are set up to accommodate levels of hearing loss and sign language usage. All food is provided by Camp Sertoma (the club) and many people travel from Sertoma Clubs far away to provide the volunteers necessary to prepare and serve the food since Confidence Learning Center does not normally have food service.
Mike Boen of BL Broadcasting brought a guest to the July 13 meeting. Mike Anselmo, regional president for Clear Channel Radio for Minnesota, North and South Dakota, presented the story of Operation Northern Lights with the stories and faces of Minnesota soldiers in Iraq.
Mick and morning personality John Hines were the first music station personnel to be embedded with an active unit in Iraq. Mick's presentation included photographs from award-winning war photojournalist Linda Cullen.
To find out more about Operation Northern Lights, go to the Web site www.k102.com/northernlights/.
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