Thirty-four campers attended Camp WeCanDo, a two-week summer program at the Long Center in Clearwater. The camp is designed to provide enriching and stimulating experiences for developmentally challenged children ages 6-18.
Camp WeCanDo director Steve Leger and assistant director Mark Folds coordinate about 15 volunteers each year. This year, they took the children on field trips to Tampa International Airport, Moccasin Lake Nature Park, Philippe Park, Great Explorations Museum, Fort De Soto, Clearwater Marine Science Center, Sunshine Bowling Alley, U.S. Coast Guard and Fun 'N Games Arcade.
Other activities included swimming, basketball, arts and crafts, and music by Clearwater Parks and Recreation music specialist VGO.
The campers were treated to a magic act, chicken wings from Hooters Restaurant and ice cream at the awards celebration on the last day of camp.
Each camper also received an award.
Camper Tyler Crose and his mother Michelle Larson presented the Michael Burdine Award, named in memory of a 1991 camper, to the two most enthusiastic campers: Heather Grote and Ahmed Elshater.
Tracy Figurski, 18, received the "Best Sense of Humor" award. Mark Diez grinned from ear to ear as he held up his "Top Rapper" award.
Many families are unable to pay the fees for their children, so the success of the camp depends on the help of volunteers and financial support from the community and sponsors, Folds said.
This year's sponsors were the city of Clearwater, the Upper Pinellas Association for Retarded Citizens, the UPARC Foundation and the Long Center. Also, a Michael Burdine Endowment Fund has been established to solicit permanent funding for the camp.
For information about Camp WeCanDo, call Eric Watson at 462-6425. For information about the Michael Burdine Endowment Fund, call Cathy Holland at 797-8712.
3 Scouts receive Eagle awards
Three Scouts, Brad Freeman, Scott Freeman and Matthew Mikelonis, from Boy Scout Troop 311 received Eagle Scout awards in ceremonies at St. Matthew Catholic Church in Largo.
The three boys have been together in Scouting since 1982.
The Freemans, twins, are the sons of Doug and Nancy Freeman of Seminole. They are 1992 graduates of the International Baccalaureate program at St. Petersburg High School.
Mikelonis, son of John and Susan Mikelonis of Seminole, is a 1992 graduate of Osceola High School.
As his Eagle Scout project, Brad Freeman planned and supervised a xeriscape for the city of Clearwater. The project was created for the 1991 Pinellas County Expo, to provide information for visitors about how to create a drought-tolerant environment. The project involved more than 120 man-hours.
Scott Freeman planned and led the restoration of a wetland in Clearwater along Stevenson's Creek. More than 200 mangroves and sea grasses were planted, transforming a barren estuary into a productive wetland. His project was completed with the help of other Scout members.
Mikelonis developed a project for the SPCA in Largo. The plans included renovation and landscaping of the Memorial Park. He and other Scouts restored several paths, repainted statues, mulched around all areas and built a new sign for the memorial name plaques.
The three young men are students at the University of Florida in Gainesville.
Information for the Young Newsmakers column may be sent to Pat Scarberry, 710 Court St., Clearwater, FL 34616. Please include a contact name and phone number.