Members of Knights of Columbus Council #8160 volunteered two days this week to treat disabled township students to a day of fun in the sun, as well as an after-party.
It is a tradition that the Knights have upheld for 31 years. Each summer for the past three decades, members of the council have fundraised to organize a field day for the children, a party after the events and medals for all the participants. The council also donates a pizza party with a live band on a separate day – this year, it will be held next week.
The event has grown substantially even as the council has lost some of its fundraising opportunities, said John Crosio, the longtime organizer of the event.
What was once a contingent of about 150 special needs children in Camp Beadleston, a summer program for disabled Brick youngsters, has grown to a larger group of 478 children in the BASE (Behavioral, Academic, Social Experience) Camp program. Meanwhile, the Knights, who once raised money by soliciting donations outside of storefronts, have seen their funds dwindle as supermarkets closed, as well as when they lost the ability to sell funnel cakes at Brick’s Summerfest (food sales are now competitively bid by the township). In September, the council will introduce a new golf tournament that they hope will bridge the gap.
Crosio’s own grandson, Steven, was once part of the camp, making the day an extra special experience for him.
“We love it,” he said. “It’s a labor of love, especially since it’s harder to raise money these days. We’d love to do even more.”
The Knights contribute more than $6,000 to the event each summer.
“It’s a fun day,” said Mayor John Ducey, who helped distribute the medals to the field day participants. “The Knights of Columbus works very hard with their volunteers, and the BASE Camp staff really come together. Of course, it’s all about the kids having fun.”
The golf tournament will be held Sept. 13 at Forge Pond Golf Course in Brick. The cost is $70 per golfer with cart, and awards will be given out in several categories. A lunch at the Laurelton Fire house will come afterward. For more information or to sign up, call Joe Landicino at 732-773-3060 or Frank Dooley at 732-785-0219.