The Mad River Valley Interfaith Council and Mad River Valley Community Fund, along with local businesses and individual supporters, have teamed up for the second year in a row to help local families access summer camps and programming for their kids and teens. Last year, the “Summer FUNd” allowed roughly 35 children, ages 4-17, to attend enriching summer programs, have fun, learn skills and socialize with their peers at camps such as Highland Soccer Camp, Eddie Merma’s Sculpture School, Fayston Forest Camp and many others.


“Summer camp programs are important for so many reasons,” Summer FUNd coordinator Patty Giometti said. “They build friendships, build leadership. Trying to fund summer camps is quite a challenge,” she said, noting that it has become even more difficult for many families due to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and inflation. She said organizers hope to expand the program this year to support more kids and families who want these important summer experiences but have trouble affording them.

Giometti called the program a “win-win-win for the child, parents and local camps.” Camps funded do not need to be in The Valley, though families who apply need to have a strong connection to The Valley, whether they are residents, attend local schools, or the parents work in The Valley. All kinds of camps are eligible, including day camps and sleepaway camps. 

“The Mad River Valley Community Fund definitely recognizes it’s critical for children to have enriching experiences in the summer months,” Mad River Valley Community Fund program manager Jill Ellis said. “When children have the opportunity to participate in something that’s enriching, it helps them not fall behind academically or in the social/emotional area.” She added that camps can help children build community and friendships as well as have educational opportunities. “Our priority is helping families and children and individuals in the Mad River Valley. The Summer FUNd is clearly providing families the financial means to participate” in these types of experiences.

“You don’t know how much this means to us and helps us,” one family who received Summer FUNd support last year said. “I am floored. I don't even know what to say beyond thank you. Thank you so much on so many levels. This is a true gift beyond measure for our family. Thank you a thousand times over!” another wrote. “This is the most wonderful gift. It's why we still work in The Valley,” one family said (all information is kept anonymous).

“The mission of the Mad River Valley Interfaith Council is to improve the quality of life for Valley residents in need,” Sharon Kellerman of the Interfaith Council said. “The Summer FUNd certainly does that. The program enriches the lives of children who otherwise would have nothing to do in the summer. It also helps emotionally — they're brought up to an equal level with other children.”

The Summer FUNd application is live now and organizers are still seeking support for summer 2023. Donations can be made to the Interfaith Council; be sure to note the donation is for the Summer FUNd.

To families considering applying for support for camps this summer, “Don’t be afraid to apply,” Giometti said. “We’re here to help support you and your kiddos.” Apply at