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Jan. 12, 2005

Friends of Camp Hollis Raise Funds for Extra Classroom

OSWEGO - For the past 15 years, students with a hearing impairment attending Oswego County BOCES summer program have had the opportunity to learn about nature, swim, and work on academics at Camp Hollis. Recently, the BOCES Deaf Education Summer School grew too large to accommodate all the students at Camp Hollis.

"The experiences students receive at Camp Hollis are ones that are useful throughout the entire school year," said John Ramin, Supervisor of Special Education Programs at Oswego County BOCES. "This environment gives students the right setting to work on skills in a more casual and relaxed atmosphere. Integrating with hearing peers provides practice opportunities for successful social and community relationship development."

The summer school program serves children from all nine Oswego County school districts. The class is staffed with a certified teacher of the deaf, audiologist, educational interpreters, speech therapists, and other related staff.

The Friends of Camp Hollis, a non-profit group that supports projects at Camp Hollis, began a fundraising campaign to build an additional classroom in order to accommodate all students with a hearing-impairment attending BOCES. They recently received a $7,500 grant from the John Ben Snow Foundation, $1,000 from Oswego Lions Club, $500 from Fulton Lions Club, as well as private donations.

"We are particularly grateful to the John Ben Snow Foundation, local Lions clubs, and the support we've received from the community to help Camp Hollis thrive and grow," said Vicki Mather, President of Friends of Camp Hollis. "Camp Hollis encourages sportsmanship, teamwork, exercise and appreciation for the outdoors. We have a terrific relationship with BOCES and the Deaf Education Summer School program and this addition will only benefit that relationship."

Construction of the new classroom will begin this spring. The Oswego County Department of Building and Grounds will provide the labor. It's scheduled to open at the end of June, allowing Oswego County BOCES to have two deaf education classes at Camp Hollis.

"Camp Hollis's relationshjp with the BOCES Deaf Education Program is a win-win situation. The BOCES students thrive in the Camp Hollis summer environment, and our campers learn a lot about the hearing-impaired population. This is something that many have not had the chance to experience before this," said Kathleen Fenlon, Director of the Oswego City-County Youth Bureau.

Located on the shores of Lake Ontario in the town of Oswego, Camp Hollis is a co-ed summer camp for Oswego County children ages eight to 13. The camp is dedicated to promoting good sportsmanship while stressing conservation and the wise use of natural resources. The camp provides healthy physical activity in an enjoyable environment.

School groups, senior citizens, community organizations, church groups, and families use Camp Hollis for a variety of programs and activities. Fees are determined on a sliding scale basis.

The camp is owned by the County of Oswego and operated by the Oswego City-County Youth Bureau. Camp Hollis is also supported by the U.S. Department of Agriculture Summer Feeding Program.

For information, call the Oswego City-County Youth Bureau, weekdays at 349-3451 or 1-800-596-3200, ext. 3451.

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