By Don Rush

Ah, it’s great to be alive!
Spring is in the air, the tulips and other spring flowers are up and the weather is warm.

New life.

Renewal . . .

. . . Is what I wanted to write about this week. Is what I should be writing about this week. But, I can’t. This weather really does suck. That being said, the folks in Clarkston still have about two weeks to wish really hard on making Old Man Winter pack his bags and head outta’ town. Because on Sunday, May 6 SCAMP will host it’s — what 41st? — annual Walk and Roll fund raiser.
I am not sure of the exact year they started this pledge-style walk-a-thon fundraiser, but I remember as a wee shaver walking probably in the first one. (Ok, maybe I wasn’t so “wee.”)
Seems like every kid in Clarkston was given a pledge sheet to fill out — get parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles to pay money for miles walked. As far as fund raisers go, I always liked the Walk and Roll operation versus selling cookies, magazines and other things.
All the kids, teachers and adults get to get out and walk, run, breath fresh air, have fun and laugh for a good cause, SCAMP.
What is SCAMP? Well, for those not in the know, in a nutshell, it’s Summer Camp for kids with special needs. I went back and searched our archives, because nary a folk new the exact origin of said group, and found the first mention of SCAMP back the Jan. 29, 1976 Clarkston News (Page 4, if you need to know). Here’s what was said then:

From ye ol’ archives.

“Approximately 20 parents of Clarkston Elementary students have expressed interest in an experimental summer program for the physically, mentally and emotionally impaired, as well as the severely learning disabled . . .
“ . . . Special Services Director Robert Brumback told the group Clarkston School District has been approached to become an area center for the successful SCAMP program, now operated in Oakland County only in the Bloomfield School District . . .”
The camp was for about 40 campers, the article stated.
From that time forward, Clarkston has been home for SCAMP. According to Executive Director Aimee Baker, today there are over 200 summer campers (not just from Clarkston) and, “Over half cannot afford tuition.”
And, that is where the fund raising comes into play. This walk-a-thon is the group’s longest-running fundraiser (and for the kids, the most fun). Elementary schools in the district get a little competitive and for the last few years compete for the coveted Golden Shoe trophy. Not sure they had this when I was a kid, but, today the school with the most in pledges wins. Apparently, Clarkston Elementary School is like the New York Yankees — winning the trophy more than other “teams.”
We’ll see how that works out this year. I’m rooting for an underdog. Let’s Go Andersonville! Let’s Go Bailey Lake! Let’s go North Sashabaw! Let’s Go Pine Knob, Springfield Plains and Independence!

The coveted Golden Shoe trophey winning school for 2017 was Clarkston Elementary. Pictured are from the left, front, Lane Hurd, and Amanda Dixon;back, Erin Murray, Sue Tinetti, Allenna Peppers, Brian Adams and Nicole Craven. Not pictured were Evey Wright and Melinda Hart.

Baker says there are two routes walkers can take, a one-mile stroll or the three point five mile traipse around town — both start with registration at Depot Park, starting at 11:30 a.m. There will be a DJ, bounce house, hot dogs and beverages, as well as raffles and dog “contests.”
These days, SCAMP provides a five-week program developed and designed for children and young adults. It has also become a wonderful program for young adults aides and volunteers to grow and learn to be caring individuals.
And the side benefit, SCAMP provides parents of the SCAMPers a break — knowing their child is in a safe haven and having a good time that they might not be able to experience any other way.
If anyone needs more information on registering for Walk and Roll, registering a child for summer camp, or to make a donation, please call 248-623-8089. Or CLICK HERE to go to their website.
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