Three days of sweat, splinters, and swinging hammers is all it takes to put smiles on the faces of children with disabilities. March 23-25, 2012, members of Pi Kappa Phi Fraternity sacrificed a weekend of their spring to help the Louisiana Lions Camp in Anacoco accomplish their mission of making memories each summer. As part of Push America’s Give-A-Push Weekends, nearly 40 Pi Kapps from several nearby chapters completed multiple projects in an effort to highlight the abilities of people with disabilities. G.A.P. Weekends are national service projects of Pi Kappa Phi’s national philanthropy, Push America, that provide funding and manpower to build and renovate structures for camps and facilities serving the disability community. Student volunteers constructed multiple accessible concrete sidewalks between cabins, power-washed an accessible swimming pool, dug trenches to later bury utilities, and replaced a central air-conditioning unit in a multipurpose lodge. Fallen trees were also plucked from the swimming area along Toledo Bend Lake and members also chopped cords of firewood for summer bonfires. Lions Club members joined in the back-breaking labor by helping dig holes to plant dozens of trees around the camp. The work done will help enhance the lives of people with disabilities and save the Lions Camp hundreds, if not thousand of dollars of otherwise hired labor.
Situated on 170 acres north of Leesville, the Louisiana Lions Camp is a non-profit residential summer camp free to boys and girls with intellectual and physical disabilities, diabetes, and pulmonary disorders. Lions Clubs across the state sponsor youth in their local areas to attend one of seven week-long sessions at no cost each summer.
Aside from the spirit of service, Pi Kapps from Northwestern State University, Stephen F. Austin State University, McNeese State University, Louisiana Tech University, and the University of Oklahoma experienced an opportunity to grow their bonds of brotherhood. Interacting with other chapters helped expand their teamwork skills, provide an opportunity to network, as well as enjoy a weekend of fellowship. Members Ryan Jeffords, Chris Alley, Tyler Holdsworth, Shannon McCauley, Will Poole, and alumni Rodney Clements, Lane Luckie, and Chris Reich represented the group from NSU.
At the close of the weekend, former Push America staff member and Beta Omicron alumnus Rodney Clements presented Lions Camp director Ray Cecil with a grant for $5,000. This grant is paid for by the fundraising efforts of Pi Kappa Phi chapters like those attending this G.A.P. Weekend.
This is the second Give-A-Push Weekend held at the Louisiana Lions Camp. In 2008, Pi Kapps constructed a pavilion, painted the accessible swimming pool, and built a covered walkway.
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