Special End of Year Update
This is a very special time of year – celebrating with families and friends — while focusing on just how thankful we are that you (and your family) are part of our Kudzu Community.
This fall marks the start of a new fiscal year (FY21), and we are eagerly awaiting the start of 2021. This NEW YEAR, we will continue to creatively add new programming during these challenging times.
Looking back at the past 12+ months, I can’t help but reflect on just how far we have advanced our cause and changed the lives of thousands of campers and families these past 20+ years – even during a global pandemic.
Just like our camper BGs, the past year has certainly been filled with the highest of highs and the lowest of lows! From an amazing evening in December 2019 celebrating TWENTY YEARS to an unprecedented summer in which many tough decisions were made to cancel all “in-person” programs due to a worldwide pandemic. The obstacles we faced this past year in the wake of COVID-19 were monumental. Even so, the Kudzu Team navigated and persevered through these challenges and we are first and foremost PROUD! PROUD of the committed staff and volunteers, and how bright they—and YOU—make our future.
Kudzu leadership quickly pivoted to develop and implement new virtual programs all the while maintaining safety protocols and abiding by new requirements and recommendations. Summer P.A.C.K.s (Project At Camp Kudzu) were sent to more than 500+ campers prior to Camp KudZoom, an innovative virtual experience for campers of all ages. By providing an opportunity for children and teens to spend invaluable time with one another and participate in activities with members of their cabin via a new, virtual platform, Camp KudZoom reminded us all that there is truly No Place Like Kudzu!
We also continued our research collaboration and partnership with Clemson University, to study outcomes for campers and their families related to participation in our programs. We have known that summer overnight camp produces statistically significant increases in camper self-confidence, self-awareness, communication skills, and sense of normalcy. After analysis of KudZoom outcomes when delivered as a complement to in-person programs, similar increases were observed amongst campers and their parents, suggesting that campers are better and different after participating in Kudzu branded programs.
Since this summer, several changes have been made within Kudzu—including a reorganization to ensure we can maintain and adjust to future programming needs, regardless of what challenges lie ahead.
As we look ahead to 2021, the Kudzu Team has laid the groundwork for several different scenarios to position ourselves to successfully navigate a new path and direction even if COVID-19 is still lingering, we are fully able to resume in-person programming as before. While many programs will certainly look different, the Kudzu staff and volunteer team are excited to kick off a new year.
When presented with new challenges and the uncertainty of 2020, we take comfort in knowing the Kudzu Family is resilient and stronger together. We will remain unified in our commitment to THINK BIG! and rise to the challenge of making Kudzu HOME for children, teens, and families living with T1D. We certainly have a lot of ground to make up in the coming months and it is more important than ever before for the Kudzu Community to band together in a strong way to support our organization.
To continue with plans of implementing these programs and many others, we need your help like never before and asking everyone to “find their fit!” We rely on our committed donors, board members, and volunteers to continue the Kudzu Legacy and support us in our greatest time of need. We are so very grateful for your generous gifts and your investment in the notion that “Until There’s a Cure, There’s Camp.”
On behalf of all of us at Camp Kudzu, we hope you have a wonderful start to the holiday season, and know, we will remain thankful, continue our good work– and maintain HOPE that Camp Kudzu (with your support) continue to GROW in new ways!
p.s. I like to think that Camp Kudzu is as resilient as the true Kudzu vine and we will continue to flourish!