Project Help is Sponsoring Free Camping trips for Veterans
Sometimes we all need a break from our hectic lives, veterans and their families are no different. Many service men and women have served in combat and some are struggling with a myriad of challenges from unemployment to PTSD, TBI and physical challenges.
When Project Help began, one of the early plans was to have a place for veterans to go for a little relaxation, rest, fun and comradery. The vision was to have a camp. However, time went by and nothing came of the effort to find such a place until now.
Quite by chance, a connection was made with Kristi and her husband Andy Finnegan, a Disabled Veteran Business owner of Oakland Valley Campground in Cuddebackville NY.
Sandy Mitchell, Executive Director of Project Help, explained the idea to Kristi. “The plan is simple and straight forward”, said Mitchell. There will be three weekends dedicated to the Vet Camp. July is for the women, August for families and September for the men. The only thing the vets will have to supply, aside from personal items, is their ride to and from Oakland Valley Campground. Food and activities are all free.
“We’re very excited to get involved in this venture with Project Help,” said Kristi.
“We have elected to start with small groups in the first year and see where it goes from there”, said Mitchell.
The campground is on the river with all of the recreational activities people love, such as tubing and fishing. There is a pool for those who prefer that over the river. The Rec building will host all types of fun, educational and therapeutic activities such as yoga and meditation, creative crafts and much more. There will be some Private, “Vets Only” times dedicated each weekend to allow Veterans to be alone to vent, commiserate, and offer up their experiences getting past some of their “Stuff”.
The veterans will pay nothing, and we will even provide food for them. The cost for each veteran, male or female, for the weekend is $200. It is about $350 – $400 for families. That covers the stay, food and all activities. The number of veterans will be limited to about 8 for men and 8 women and about 5 families depending on the size of the family. Sponsors are needed to be able to make this a totally free weekend.
Veterans from NJ, NY and PA are welcome to apply for the camp at: https://projecthelp.us/veteran-camping/
If you would like to be a volunteer at Vet Camp, please contact Sandy at (973) 875-2068. You are welcome to spend the weekend and there will be food.
Or come spend a day or two at the camp in April at the annual clean up weekend on the 13th & 14th, please contact Kristi if you can lend a hand (845) 522-2504.
The cleanup consists of the typical activities such as clearing the winter damage to trees, blowing leaves, maybe some painting. You will get to do the job you are capable of and stay as long as you like on the cleanup weekend.
Some of Andy’s Army buddies from the Corp of Engineers will be there to help that weekend. They bring chain saws for cutting downed trees and for cutting down trees that could be ready to fall. We are hoping to bring about 10-15 volunteers to the camp to help these folks get ready for the season.
Project Help is a grassroots, 501c3 all volunteer charity serving the veteran community. The can be reached at 973-875-2068, email [email protected] or on their website at www.projecthelp.us