Philanthropy benefit begins Friday
Published: Friday, October 19, 2012
Updated: Friday, October 19, 2012 01:10
Sororities are known for being a great way to make lasting friendships and build a smaller community within the university setting while attending college. It can also develop leadership by serving the community. The Texas A&M Chapter of Gamma Phi Beta does this by playing an active role through volunteering for a local camp for children and adults with disabilities.
Gamma Phi Beta will be hosting their annual Crescent Classic Friday from 6-10 p.m. A large portion of the proceeds will go to their local philanthropy initiative – Camp for All. The camp welcomes children and adults fighting health disorders such as cancer, muscular dystrophy, epilepsy, severe burns, sickle cell, cerebral palsy, cognitive challenges, cardiac issues, spinal cord injuries, PKU, neurofibromitosis, HIV, dermatological issues and many other disabilities. Most of the children and adults come from the greater Houston area and Southeast Texas, but several of the camps draw nationally and internationally.
“Crescent Classic is our annual major fundraising event for our local philanthropy,” said Gamma Phi Beta house manager Sarah Gossett. “It’s a barbecue cookout and a silent auction. We usually try to bring a Texas country singer.”
Members of Gamma Phi Beta play an active role in volunteering for Camp for All by visiting the site several times a year to help with various activities.
“The first time I went, we just helped them with their fundraisers,” Gossett said. “Other times I’ve gone, we’ve interacted with the kids. We’ve worked with the horses before, helped clear paths in the woods to make trails, we have even helped set up a carnival before. Whenever they have big events we try to go help them out. Sometimes it’s even something as little as cleaning.”
Pat Sorrells, the president and CEO of Camp for All, described the camp as a haven for children and adults struggling with disabilities in their daily lives.
“We are open all year long and offer them opportunities to discover what they can do,” Sorrells said. “The world tells them what they can’t do, but then they come here and it is a totally barrier free environment. We opened in 1998 and will be hitting a hundred thousand campers this coming year.”
Sorrells spoke highly of the Gamma Phi Beta volunteers who come and help them throughout the year.
“The Gammas have been awesome volunteers,” Sorrells said. “They always make a difference and are always enthusiastic. They come for family day and they also help with our bike ride by manning some of our rest stops. They are our cheerleaders on the route. It’s a great event and the Gammas help make it that way.”
The Camp for All staff is always in need of volunteers to help them with various things such as painting, leading a horse, cleaning the dining hall, helping the campers fish or canoe or helping with the ropes course.
“During the school year we only have 15 program staff members and a limited number of full-time staffers,” said Will Biba, junior sport management major and member of program staff for Camp for All. “It’s not possible for us to do it all. We rely on volunteers to make sure all of the tasks get handled. Gamma Phi is one of our most important groups of volunteers, especially since they are so close to us.”
The sorority accents its philanthropy volunteer work with this annual fundraiser. Sophomore Gamma Phi Beta member and nutritional sciences major, Jenna Bjork, said she loves being able to work with the kids and staff at Camp for All.
“I love seeing the impact we can make on these kids in such a short amount of time, and honestly how much they can impact us as well,” Bjork said. “These kids are awesome and I love being able to help them enjoy camps.”
The Crescent Classic will be held at the Gamma Phi Beta house. The event will feature a barbecue, silent auction and performance by country artist Brian Burke. Tickets are $12 and include the meal, concert and a T-shirt.