Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Liberty Lakers Helping Out the Troops!

Brandi Carnivale has worked at Liberty Lake for 13 years (yes, we know that this is LLDC's 12th summer).  Starting as a 19 year old group leader to a specialist, to division leader, "special ops," program director, teen leadership founder and director, assistant camp director, to now my "right hand woman" - While Brandi is often accused of being an optimist, a hippie, a dreamer, etc. (all accurate), she has done a TON for LLDC, and continues to do so.

As one of the founders of the Liberty Lake Foundation, she is always looking for ways to give back to those less fortunate, and recognize those who are forgotten.  Her annual "Unity Day" has been terrific the past few years- We've planted a beautiful flower garden around the flagpole, built a multi-colored brick road through our new "Turtle Town", and this past year each of our 50 groups of Campers created 50 beautiful blankets for the troops in Afghanistan- it was quite an undertaking, and it worked!!!

We purchased fleece material in red, white & blue patterns, and each group spent time making their blanket- cutting fringes all the way around both pieces of material and then attaching the pieces by tying knots until completely together and fringed on all sides.  After tying the blankets, each camper took time to write a personal message or draw a picture for our troops to show their love, appreciation and admiration!  We displayed the blankets for the camp families to see during our Family Night- It was quite a sight!
The blankets were donated to the men and women at the Fort Dix/ Maguire/Lakehurst Mega Base, and were given to soldiers who were deploying to Afghanistan just before the holidays- choosing to fight for our country in the desert during the holidays, while we opened presents with our families in our warm houses.  The blankets were so popular upon their arrival that Barbara had to hide them to make sure that the soldiers earmarked to receive them actually did!  It turns out that the evenings are quite FREEZING in the desert, and that our LLDC handmade blankets served a tremendous purpose for the soldiers IMMEDIATELY, upon first night there.
The Base issued LLDC a certificate of appreciation, with numerous hand written thank you letters from the soldiers, and a sign with a picture of the troops which they signed and decorated (below).  I can not tell you how moving this tribute is- It's the kind of thing that you would see being sent TO the soldiers, and they sent it to US!!! 

From: Brenner, Barbara V CTR (US) 
Date: Thu, Dec 6, 2012 at 2:40 PM
Subject: Blankets to Fort Dix (UNCLASSIFIED)
To: "bc@libertylakedaycamp.com"

Brandi, I wish you could have seen the faces of the Soldiers as they each took a blanket for themselves as they are getting ready to leave for Afghanistan.  For them it was an early Christmas and the gift was very welcome.  They felt important knowing how much they are appreciated.
Thanks, Barbara

Thank you Brandi for coming up with this idea, thank you to the Liberty Lake Team for making it happen last July, and thank you to the Liberty Lake Campers and Teen Leadershippers for actually doing the work, which means so much to so many important people- our friends, neighbors and relatives who are putting their lives on the line so that we can have happy, normal lives with our families in our homes.

The Liberty Lake Foundation was created to give camp scholarships to those in need, and create partnerships with schools and other local youth serving organizations.  This fall, we received $1200 from two Liberty Lake COUNSELORS who were former campers- dedicating part of their salaries towards giving a 2-week scholarship to a lucky camper in 2013- Thank you Gabe and Hallie Wilmes- We are blown away by your generosity!!!!!

For more information on the Liberty Lake Foundation, go to www.LibertyLakeFoundation.org

160 Days 'til Camp!!!