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Jane Van Horn remembers the little boy determined not to have fun at Christmas Camp.

The child was attending a weekend of activities at Camp Fontanelle.

“He felt his mom was abandoning him when she dropped him off at the camp,” said Van Horn, communications coordinator.

Yet things would work out well.

“By the end of the camp, he had really connected with people,” Van Horn said.

The boy’s mother also said she saw a change in the child.

A weekend camp called, “Christmas Camp 2019 — ‘A Charlie Brown Christmas,’ is being offered from Dec. 13-15.

The camp starts at 5 p.m. that Friday and concludes at about 1 p.m. that Sunday.

This is the sixth year that Camp Fontanelle has offered a holiday camp for kids who might not be able to see the joy of Christmas.

The camp is designed for kids whose families may be facing financial, relational or emotional struggles.

“It’s for any child — ages 9 to 12 — who just needs some light in their life during this season,” Van Horn said.

Weather permitting, children will be able to take a ride on the zip line. If it snows, the youngsters will go sledding.

“We’re going to do as many camp-type things that we can,” Van Horn said.

Activities also will include sessions on how to overcome struggles.

“Being a Christian camp, we’ll talk about the light of Christ,” Van Horn added.

Each day, there will be a message for the kids. Campers will make something for folks at the Crowell Memorial Home in Blair. Van Horn then will take what the kids make to the home after the camp concludes.

St. Nicholas will make a visit and share the meaning of Christmas during the camp.

The children will receive gifts as well.

“We go shopping for every child who is at camp,” Van Horn said. “They will get an outfit and a fun toy.”

Last year, 36 youths took part in the camp. The camp has served children from Blair, Fremont, the Hooper area, Omaha and even as far away as York in previous years.

Part of the funding for the camp comes from the Nebraska United Methodist Foundation.

Those who would like to make a donation may do so by sending checks to: Camp Fontanelle, 9677 County Road 3, Fontanelle, NE 68044. Please write in the check’s memo line that the donation is for the Christmas Camp.

Donors can “adopt” a child for $100. Contributors can send a check and let the camp do the shopping

Or donors can do the shopping themselves.

Contributors will be given the child’s age and gender, along with that camper’s Christmas list. Donors shop based on the Christmas list.

Those interested in sending a child to camp are to contact Van Horn at: jvanhorn@greatplainsumc.org or call her at 402-278-0526. She will provide camp information.

Van Horn noted that families decide if they think their children would qualify for the camp.

“It totally is up to the family that says, ‘Wow, my child could really use this camp,’” Van Horn said.

Registrations need to be received by Nov. 27.

The camp has a maximum of 40 campers (20 girls and 20 boys).

Camp Fontanelle is situated along the banks of the Elkhorn River in Washington County. It includes meadows, 5 miles of hiking trails, multiple worship spots and meeting rooms.

Van Horn added that a worship service will take place on the Sunday morning of the camp.

“All of the families have an opportunity to come share worship with us that the kids put together and then we share a family meal,” Van Horn said. “I think it’s really important that we allow the families to come back and actually see what the kids have done and what they’ve learned — and meet the people that have been with their kids for the weekend and have had a chance to impact their lives.”

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News Editor

Tammy Real-McKeighan is news editor of the Fremont Tribune. She covers news, features, religion stories and writes the weekly faith-based, Spiritual Spinach column.

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