Going away to youth camp is an experience many American children enjoy. But for many kids, physical and financial challenges stand in the way. Thats where Rotary Club 13s Youth Camp has served hundreds of thousands of metro area children. The Rotary Youth Camp is designed specifically for children with physical, mental or emotional disabilities which make it difficult or impossible to participate at other camps.
The entire 26-acre youth camp is wheelchair accessible. There are 13, dorm-style cabins, a large dining hall, and a state-of-the-art, zero-entry swimming pool. The camp is open year-round, and it is funded by donations from events such as Greater Kansas City Day that cover its operating expenses.
Aside from thousands of dollars in scholarships, since January 2021 the RCCG Foundation has made distributions to Alfalit International, Chapman Partnership for online bingo during pandemic, Actors Playhouse, Ecoworks International for programs in Haiti, Junior Orange Bowl for its Youth Ambassadors Program, Coral Gables Crime Watch, Miami Rescue Mission, and Shake-A-Leg to underwrite summer camps for children from Overtown Youth. In addition, they helped coordinated a Golf Ball Drop for the district that generated $74,365 sent to Rotary International Charitable Fund.
Recently, several Gables Rotarians gathered at Shake-A-Leg to meet some of the children they helped sponsor for summer camp along with volunteers and Harry Horgan, who founded the program so many years ago. Harry and Bill Quesenberry, RCCG treasurer and longtime Shake-A-Leg volunteer, shared how this sailing program that began for those with physical challenges has since broadened its outreach.
Shake-A-Leg now includes more than sailing and serves everyone rich and poor, young and old, able-bodied and not. It has become an amazing community resource that educates, entertains and grows character, confidence and leadership. Kudos to Harry and all those who support this amazing place.
Coral Gables Rotarians were scheduled to conduct their installation at their July 3 Independence Day picnic at Matheson Hammock Park. President Kelly Garces, whose did an amazing job leading the club through a year of Zoom meetings and other challenges, passed the gavel to Nicolas Eterovic. This is only the second time since COVID that the club will meet in person. Those Rotarians wishing to RSVP, should contact RCCG past president Sally Baumgartner who organizes this picnic every year. In-person meeting will resume the second and fourth Thursday of each month, 12:15 p.m., at Two Sisters Restaurant in the Hyatt Coral Gables. The first and third Thursday club meetings will be conducted via Zoom.
On a sad note for residents of Coral Gables and many others who work there, the big news is that Bob Maguire is retiring having lost the lease on his Burger Bobs restaurant on the Granada Golf Course.
For many regulars, this is like closing their own home kitchen. Its where many friends meet several times a week and where families come for breakfast on the weekends. It is where life long friends have been made and will certainly be a sad transition for all who love Bob and the place where everyone knows your name.
In other news, bicyclists will be happy to know that the annual Smartride, a 165-mile ride over two days from Miami to Key West, is back. Set for Nov. 19-20, the Coral Gables Womans Club has supported this event since its second year and, led by CGWC secretary Carmen Suarez, they already are planning their costumes and looking forward to sharing two hardworking but very rewarding days with event founder Glen Weinzimer and other volunteers.
Since 2003, this ride has raised $12.5 million for numerous HIV/AIDS-related clinics around the state. One hundred percent of the funds raised by the riders goes to charity. Everyone volunteers their time and talent to make this a success.
From 100 riders the first year, when they raised $169,000, they now have more than 700 riders coming from all over the U.S. During the pandemic, because they could not meet in person, they came up with a creative way for people to particiapte using units with 165 165 minutes doing something, etc. Amazingly, they brought in more than $730,000. Those wanting more information should visit www.thesmartride.org.
Speaking of Smartride, half of the proceeds from Coral Gables Womans Clubs Gringo Bingo at Clutch Burger on July 6 will be directed to Smartride as will be other fundraisers they are planning. If you read this in time to attend, please send RSVP to [email protected] The event begins at 7 p.m. and the donation for 12-game card is $25.
Finally, prayers go out to those who suffered the loss of loved ones or were displaced by the horrific collapse of the condo in Surfside. The outpouring of donations is testament to how heartbroken our community is for all those effected by this event. May God give victims, families and those rescue workers the strength needed to endure this tragedy.
The Coral Gables Community Foundation, the Key Biscayne Community Foundation, The Miami Foundation, together with the Miami Heat and John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, have launched a hardship fund to help those impacted and will be collecting donations to support all those affected by this tragedy. To donate, go to https://supportsurfside.org/