Excitement filled the air as Santa Claus made his grand entrance to this year’s Recreation Unlimited Foundation annual Camper Holiday Party.
“We had as many adults as we did youth seeing Santa,” said Executive Director Paul Huttlin. “We had over 250 people attend the party this year.”
He said the annual party is always held the first Saturday of December.
Huttlin said after visiting with the jolly old elf, campers received a goodie bag and then got into a line at the gift table to choose their special present.
Huttlin said the organization, a not-for-profit, serves over 3,200 campers with disabilities and health concerns annually through Summer and Autumn Camps, year-round weekend respites, and a week-long Prader-Willi Syndrome camp. He said it’s also a place for families to get a “respite” from the demands of caring for a special needs family member.
Huttlin said Director Melissa Brown of the Enchanted Care Learning Centers of Ohio asked parents to purchase and donate a gift for both a child and adult. He said the center collected over 280 gifts for the holiday party.
According to Huttlin, Paula Laird with the Westerville Alumni Golf and Friends Committee donated dozens of baked goods. Regina Jones of Jones Potato Chip Company donated the chips. Don Boger from Rightway Food Service donated lots of hot dogs to feed the crowd.
Huttlin said the entertainment not only included the appearance of Santa Claus, but also Joe House, choral director at River Valley High School, who sang and conducted sing-a-longs, and four crazy, magicians/clowns — Rufus, Jingles, Whistles, and Bumbles — who performed fun magic tricks.
According to the Recreation Unlimited press release, their “mission is to serve individuals with physical and developmental disabilities and health concerns through sports, recreation and education while building self-confidence, self-esteem and promoting positive human relations, attitudes and behaviors.”
“Recreation Unlimited is a place where no one has a disability and all are equal,” Huttlin said.
Recreation Unlimited is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization located at 7700 Piper Road, Ashley.
D. Anthony Botkin may be reached at 740-413-0902 or on Twitter @dabotkin.