One of the finest of local Washington traditions, begun 34 years ago by The Washington Star, is the Send a Kid to Camp program. Post columnist Bob Levey has "inherited" the 1,100 children who hope to attend, and he is looking to old as well as new friends of this campaign to keep it going. The idea is simple, and the formula well tested: youngsters ages 8 to 15 who would not otherwise escape the steamy confines of Greater Washington are given the chances of a young lifetime--to go to a camp for two weeks this summer and for some weekends in the winter.

The experience is more than a mere fortnight's flight to the woods. In addition to nature hikes, overnight trips, swimming, fishing, horseback riding and canoeing, there is instruction in drama, dance and arts and crafts--all under the supervision of veteran, caring camp directors and counselors who have been recruited from area colleges or who are former campers.

Family and Child Services of Washington, a private, nonprofit organization, operates the three camps in the program. This group, with the cooperation of 40 social agencies around the area and member agencies of the Consortium for Child Welfare, will select the youngsters.

But how many they select will depend on the generosity of more fortunate individuals, families and businesses throughout Greater Washington. Frankly, the response so far has been disappointing. Time is growing short. Tax-deductible contributions, no matter how small, can turn that around. Before you pack up for your own holiday, won't you send a donation to Bob Levey, The Washington Post, Washington, D.C. 20071?