By AMY HANSEN
CNA staff reporter email@example.com
Every child should have the opportunity to go to summer camp.
This is the belief of Ronda Audlehelm, a member of the camp committee with the FZ chapter of T.T.T (Tri-T) in Osceola.
“It teaches them independence, how to be away from home,” Audlehelm said. “You know how to meet new people and, just, life experiences.”
Every summer, Audlehelm’s chapter sends two girls who are exiting fourth grade to go to Camp Wyoming in Wyoming, Iowa, the week of June 3-8. During that week, it is a girls-only camp with girls who are sent from Tri-T.
Tri-T is a national organization of women who donate their time and effort to send young girls to camp. It is a nonprofit philanthropic organization dedicated to providing an educational camping experience for girls who might not otherwise have the chance.
Tri-T was founded in Mount Pleasant, Iowa, in January 1911. Tri-T stands for time, talent and treasures of all members.
Tri-T has local chapters in 14 states and Washington, D.C. with 4,000 members nationwide and 81 chapters in Iowa alone. Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds is among the members of Tri-T. Osceola has two chapters.
Chapters meet at least nine times a year with the purpose of raising money to send girls to camp and provide any additional clothing or camp equipment that might be needed for the experience.
Any woman can become a Tri-T member and members can range in age from 18 to 95.
Audlehelm’s chapter is sending twin sisters Haylie and Taylor Poling. This is the first time the chapter has ever had the opportunity to send twins.
When asked what she was most excited about for camp, Haylie said, “Having fun and mudsliding and swimming.”
Taylor said she was looking forward to kayaking and meeting new friends. She also mentioned the mudslide.
One of the members in Audlehelm’s chapter is a fourth-grade teacher and gives input on what girls would be ideal to go to camp.
The chapter chooses the girls during March or April. During the May meeting, Audlehelm said members throw a “camp shower” for the girls to help provide them with things they will need for camp.
Shortly before camp starts, chapter members take the girls on a shopping trip for items they still might need.
“They have absolutely no expenses to go to camp,” Audlehelm said. “So, the shopping trip is a big deal. It’s fun.”
As the girls who are sent to camp from Tri-T get older, the chapter keeps in contact with them until they graduate from high school. Girls can even earn a scholarship through Tri-T.
According to Audlehelm, girls from previous years have enjoyed meeting new people and stay busy with activities at camp.
“Some are apprehensive about going because they’ve not been away from home before, but usually we don’t have a lot of trouble with home sickness,” she said.
When the girls are at camp, Audlehelm said they will participate in “all the typical camp stuff.”
“I know there’s a mudslide,” she said. “They go on hikes. They swim. They learn songs.”
Every child should have the opportunity to go down a mudslide at least once in life.