Generosity a Bridge From Island of Isolation 

Moss Hollow campers enjoy myriad activities, including a number game called slide.
Moss Hollow campers enjoy myriad activities, including a number game called slide. (Camp Moss Hollow)
By John Kelly
Monday, June 5, 2006

No man is an island. No woman for that matter. That's what John Donne thought, anyway: "No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main."

It's easy to feel especially island-y these days: atomized, unmoored, disconnected from the people around us -- these are the hallmarks of the "modern condition." Sometimes being a piece of a continent seems impossible. There are days I'd settle for being part of an archipelago.

This is all a typically elliptical way of saying that today marks the kickoff of our annual Send a Kid to Camp campaign. Longtime readers of The Washington Post know what that means -- your generosity helps needy kids -- but here's another way of looking at it: It's a chance to connect with others, to make a difference in a child's life, to be a part of the main .

Send a Kid to Camp is built upon a simple premise: Taking poor children out of the hot, close confines of the city and letting them spend a week in the country -- their feet on the grass, their heads beneath the trees and stars -- can only mean good things. It can awaken something magical that might otherwise lie dormant.

And so for nearly 30 years, readers of The Post have been supporting Moss Hollow, a summer camp for some of the area's neediest kids.

Camp Moss Hollow is 367 wooded acres about 70 miles west of Washington, in Fauquier County. There's a lake, a pool, hiking trails, a basketball court, a ropes course, a dining hall. There are cabins and bunk beds, campfires and marshmallows.

Those are the camp's physical attributes, but just as important are its human ones. The children who go to Moss Hollow come from all sorts of family situations. Some are in foster care; some live with their grandparents or a single parent.

The people who run Moss Hollow really know these kids. Many of the children -- the camp is open to ages 7 to 14 -- are lucky enough to return summer after summer. So are many of the counselors, more than a few of whom started out as campers themselves.

All of the money to operate Moss Hollow and provide for the campers comes from The Post's annual campaign. That's where you come in. Our goal is to raise $450,000 in the next eight weeks.

What makes this campaign work are people such as Tani Lublin and her neighbors in Alexandria's Marina Towers. Since 1998, the residents of Marina Towers have donated more than $39,000 to Send a Kid to Camp.

"Basically I ask my neighbors for money, and they give it to me," Tani explained.

They've raised money at pool parties and at cookouts and by responding to posters Tani tapes up. "I really feel good about what we as a community have accomplished," she said.

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