North American Banking Company employees and their families prepare the special needs camp for the 16th consecutive year.
For over 50 years, children with special needs and their families have gone to Camp Knutson in idyllic Crosslake, MN. Nestled on the shores of Lower Whitefish and Trout Lake, the camp sits on a pristine 54 acre site on Manhattan Point, with the purpose of providing a camp experience to kids that because of physical or health limitations would otherwise be unable to attend a summer camp. Each year the camp serves children with skin disease, autism, Down syndrome, and heart disease as well as families with a member(s) affected by or infected with HIV/AIDS.
The camp has a small but dedicated core staff but Minnesota’s drastic seasonal changes make preparing the site for campers to be a significant undertaking, particularly with a narrow window of opportunity in the early spring until campers begin arriving at the end of May.
North American Banking Company’s relationship with Camp Knutson began with Gerald Bilski and his wife Sandy, who led fundraising efforts to rebuild the camp. This spring marked the 16th consecutive year that employees from North American Banking Company (and their families) have spent one weekend in May prepping the camp for the season. 60 people prepared the camp by cleaning screens and windows through the dozens of buildings, repairing roofs, power washing cabin exteriors, painting, clearing brush and cutting firewood.
By the end of the weekend, the grounds and buildings were prepared for staff and campers, who will be arriving in a few short weeks. This allows the camp staff to focus on larger picture items such as training core staff, developing new activities, and planning each camp session.
From Jared Griffin, Director of Camp Knutson:
“Camp Knutson's mission is to give kids with disabilities and special medical needs the best week of their lives. This is no small feat but with great friends like those at North American Banking Company, Camp Knutson has come to believe that anything is possible. For over the past 15 years, they have been a strong dedicated partner in leading the charge of camp’s annual spring cleaning projects and participating in all of our fundraising efforts. Last year, they were the first ones to answer our call for help when we needed immediate clean up after losing over 80+ trees in storm damage. They have been such a blessing in so many ways to Camp Knutson and we thank them for playing such a critical role in helping us be able to give kids hope to dream, confidence to achieve those dreams, and courage to embrace the future.”
For more information about Camp Knutson and their programs, please go to http://www.lssmn.org/camp/
Above: This year, North American Banking Company employees and their families helped prepare the Camp Knutson for the summer for the 16th consecutive spring. North American Banking Company's relationship with Camp Knutson began with Gerald Bilski and his wife Sandy, who led fundraising efforts to rebuild the camp.