Event has raised over $27,000 for the nonprofit Special Olympics in the past five years

Summer camps are supposed to be fun, and the Hockessin Athletic Club’s camp and family social is no different.

But with the Special Olympics Delaware as the beneficiary of the proceeds, there are major life lessons to be learned as well.

“We all have something different about us, and some are more noticeable than others, and to have open mind is okay,” said Marie Cantrell, youth program director at HAC. “And the kids seem to get that.”

Teaching their campers about the importance of diversity and inclusion is a major component of the summer camp experience at HAC, now in its sixth year of supporting the Special Olympics Delaware , to the point that some of their events are incorporated it into HAC Olympics.

“Special Olympics of DE is very important to us, so we are thrilled to do it, and it grows year after year,” Cantrell said of the camp’s annual homemade carnival.

The event earns funds through the presale of tickets that attendees then spend on games and events at the social, as well as the silent auction that boasts dozens of donated items.   

This year, six guests from the Special Olympics will visit the social, and also take part in the yearly Cardboard Boat Regatta, where campers construct boats out of cardboard and a water bottle and race the width of the indoor pool.

“They love to come in, and most of them are swim competitors,” Cantrell said. “They all have tons of fun, and the kids really enjoy the camaraderie. Both sides are very comfortable.”

The social comes at the end of a busy, fun- and activity-filled week, so Friday is equally important for Cantrell and the many workers and volunteers who keep things moving.

“Friday we take a nap,” she said with a hearty laugh.  

In the past five years, the event has raised over $27,000 for Special Olympics Delaware.