Vermont Business Magazine RiseVT-Addison County has awarded several grants in the region and has $19,000 more to give out in $500-$1500 grants before the end of August. One recent grant recipient is Camp Ubuntu based in Bridport—a day camp serving elementary school youth during the last week of July and the first week of August. A $1,500 grant from RiseVT will cover the cost of an experienced guide and equipment to enable campers to have both a half day of kayaking and a half day of tubing on local waterways.
As is the case with most towns in Addison County, the large majority of children in Bridport are socially isolated during summer vacation due to their remote living situations. Thus, they have limited opportunities for physical and emotional growth during the summer. Camp Ubuntu provides a hands-on educational program to help students maintain academic levels, as well as a rich, cooperative interpersonal experience to help kids increase their sense of self-efficacy. The camp not only places a heavy emphasis on hands-on learning, promoting curiosity, and developing competence, but also on physical activity, self-confidence, and health.
"Camp Ubuntu provides an opportunity for kids to make meaningful connections with trusted adults and peers, and to have experiences that otherwise would not be available to them,” remarks Eva McDonough, Bridport Elementary school nurse and one of the original organizers of Ubuntu, “The camp program opens kids’ eyes to many physical activities and adventures that they may pursue as healthy lifelong interests. It is gratifying to hear the campers say that this is the first time they have had the chance to kayak, walk in the woods and identify plants and wildlife, and even swim in a pool. We take it for granted that all kids do these things in the summer. However, for many of our youth, who are so socially isolated, this camp is an invaluable asset to our community."
RiseVT is a primary prevention strategy of OneCare Vermont currently expanding statewide to improve the health of Vermonters where they live, work, learn, and play. OneCare Vermont is the Accountable Care Organization for the state, working with providers to improve patient health and lower healthcare costs. Embracing healthy lifestyles is key to reducing chronic illness and RiseVT works to amplify existing community efforts that create environments where people spend their days conducive to making the healthy choice easy, or even the default.
“I was thrilled to approve this grant funding for Camp Ubuntu as it is exactly the kind of project we like to fund at RiseVT,” states Michele Butler Gilbert, program manager for RiseVT-Addison County, “Our mission with our grant funds is to strengthen existing programs so they can be that much more impactful for the community. I love that our funds will get kids being active and enjoying all that our natural environment has to offer in our beautiful county.”
RiseVT-Addison County has funded a range of initiatives from funding snowshoes at local libraries to “farmacy” fruit and vegetable shares at doctors’ offices in the area. If you need funding for an initiative in the towns where RiseVT is currently working (Bristol, Starksboro, Salisbury, Lincoln, Middlebury, and Bridport), please apply online at: addison.risevt.org/addison-amplify-grant-project/ before August 30th. Some exceptions may be made for communities outside of RiseVT-Addison County launch towns, so contact Michele Butler Gilbert with eligibility questions: email@example.com. \