On Sunday, May 4, more than 70 red exercise balls bounced their way down the High Noon run at Arapahoe Basin Ski Area, racing toward a gate at the bottom of the run. The spectacle — part of the US Bank Red Ball Beach Bash — was not only a great way to end the kick-off weekend of Arapahoe Basin’s spring concert series but also helped raise thousands of dollars to send deserving kids to summer camp.
Red Ball Beach Bash, now in its ninth year, is an annual fundraiser organized by former Summit County Rotaract volunteers and Keystone Science School and supports KSS’s camp scholarship fund, known as the Campership Fund. Thanks to a strong partnership with Arapahoe Basin and the support of title sponsor US Bank, along with Breckenridge Grand Vacations, SkiLogik, Krystal 93, Howard Head Sports Medicine and Budweiser, this fun, community event has been a great success for past nine years and promises to continue in that success for years to come.
This year, for the first time, Campership recipient families volunteered their time at Red Ball Beach Bash.
“We were so excited to see the recipients’ eagerness to get involved in the process and to engage in volunteerism; it really shows ownership and appreciation,” representatives from Keystone Science School wrote in a statement. “At KSS, we are so grateful to receive support from the entire community for this and other programs, and it’s inspiring to see our participants lending their support, whether it’s with KSS or other organizations in the community.”
On Tuesday, July 22, representatives from US Bank and Arapahoe Basin came to Keystone Science School to meet campers and present a check in support of the school’s Campership program. The kids hammed it up for the camera and then sang their own silly version of the Three Bears nursery rhyme for their special guests.
Russel Ahrenholtz, James Morris and Scott Pugsley presented the check representing US Bank’s title sponsorship of Red Ball Beach Bash. Deb Ware, marketing and events coordinator for A-Basin, whose support and partnership made the event possible, accompanied them.
“Camp builds character, social skills and teaches kids how to work as a team,” said Seth Oglesby, KSS’s camp and community programs director, explaining why KSS believes that every child deserves to go to camp. “Kids find stability here and a family that they can return to year after year.”
“Our campers find positive role models here, and our counselors help guide them in setting and meeting attainable goals,” said Lisa Thatcher, camp programs coordinator. “They do a lot of growing up here, and it’s a safe environment for that. There are no cliques or preconceived notions about who you are, no stigmas or stereotypes. You can really be whoever you want to be at camp, and you’re always welcome.”
Campership fundraising for 2014, in addition to Red Ball Beach Bash, raised enough funds to award more than $27,000 in scholarships to 67 deserving children in Colorado. Twenty-three of those recipients were first-timers to Camp, and 54 of them were from Summit County.
“I think the great thing about Red Ball is that it directly benefits kids in Summit County and around Colorado, allowing kids who otherwise would not have the opportunity to experience summer camp,” said John O’Connor, general manager at Krystal93 and founding member of the Red Ball Beach Bash committee. “And throwing a spring party at the Basin is a pretty fun way to raise money for this program.”