On July 13, several members of the GSF-Garner Foundation set out to visit Camp Royall which is owned and operated by the Autism Society of North Carolina. The Garner Foundation recently donated $3,200 to this charity, and Foundation volunteers were invited on a tour to learn about the camp and its programs.
“We were met by Kay Walker, Associate Director of Development, when we arrived,” said Bronna Greer, Senior Administrative Assistant. “We were taken on a tour of the camp, had lunch at the camp cafeteria and then watched the end-of-week talent show presented by the campers. We were entertained with vocals, piano, guitar, athletics, drama and karate. It was a very talented group!”
Camp Royall helps children with autism gain independence. For many, their time at the camp is the first time they have been away from their family. Camp Royall provides kids an environment where they are with others like themselves.
“The kids can relax and not feel like they are going to be made fun of or pressured to be different than they are,” continued Bronna. “The counselors there are extremely qualified and dedicated to these children. They go through an extensive screening process before they are ever hired. They offer children with autism fun activities that include swimming, a zip line, arts and crafts, a talent contest, music, working in an organic vegetable garden and various sports.”
“It’s a beautiful camp and we were all impressed with the beautiful wooded landscape, pool and nice bungalows,” added Bronna. “Each bungalow is uniquely designed with the autistic child in mind, giving them the privacy and quiet surroundings they need. The kids seem to thrive there and hope that each year they’ll be sponsored to come back for another week.”
Earlier in the year, Jim Brooks, GSF-Garner General Manager, and others participated in a charity golf tournament to raise money for the camp. He was so impressed with Camp Royall that he was instrumental in bringing this organization into the group of charities that GSF-Garner supports.
“We are so glad we ventured out,” said Bronna. “The children and staff touched our hearts and left us with great memories. It was fun to go out as a group and participate in this Foundation activity.”