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Members of the Clarendon Pilot Club joined many other Pilot Clubs from all across the state to help with the preparation of Camp Burnt Gin for the upcoming season. The volunteers from the various state-wide Pilot Clubs organized themselves into teams and proceeded to clean the property from top to bottom. They planted flowers, pulled weeds, washed windows, folded t-shirts, prepared and organized crafts, and made sure that the library was organized and ready. They also donated gift cards to Marie Amoni, Camp Director, to be used for the camp's needs. Those attending from the local Pilot Club were Camille Daniel, Jane Benton, Peggy Benton and Judy Langley.
“Everyone in the Pilot Club looks forward to this every year,” said Jane Benton. “It is normally June 1 each year that we all gather together to help prepare the camp. The experience is very rewarding for us to participate and help such a worthy cause. All Pilot Clubs in SC support Camp Burnt Gin financially, as well as provide volunteers to clean and do what is necessary to make these sessions as enjoyable as possible for those who attend.”
Camp Burnt Gin, located in Wedgefield in Sumter County, is a summer camp for children who have physical disabilities and chronic illnesses. The disabilities of the campers may include such conditions as cerebral palsy, spina bifida, cystic fibrosis, hearing impairments, heart disease, sickle cell anemia, seizures, cleft lip and palate, endocrine disorders, metabolic disorders, amputations, burns, head and spinal cord injuries.
From early June until mid August, Camp Burnt Gin operates four six day sessions for 7 through 15 year old children, two six day session for teenagers, ages 16-20 and a four day session for young adults, ages 21-25. During the course of a session, campers have the chance to participate in a variety of programs such as instructional and recreational swimming, boating, fishing, arts and crafts, sports and games, fine arts and nature study. Each cabin group has the opportunity to enjoy an overnight camping trip in which they sleep in the woods and cook their meals over a campfire.
Staff members, in a ratio of one for every two campers, live with the children and assist those children who require help with their personal needs and participation in the activities. Camp Burnt Gin has two nurses in residence. Nurses are responsible for medication administration, first aid and overseeing medical treatments. Sumter Pediatrics and Tuomey Regional Medical Center are available in the event of illness or an emergency. Nutritious balanced meals are planned by a registered dietician and served to the children as part of the US Department of Agriculture's summer feeding program.
Camp Burnt Gin provides a fun, safe summer camp experience to over 460 children who might not otherwise have the chance to attend camp because of their special health care needs. The Burnt Gin experience offers them an opportunity to meet new friends, develop recreational skills, become more independent and improve their self confidence. The entire camp does its best to align the sessions according to the abilities of the individual campers.
The basic desire of each child at Camp Burnt Gin is to have fun and be accepted by others, regardless of his or her disability.