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Scouting families rally to match grant for storm shelter at Camp Cedars

The Conolley family – Donating funds to help match the $250,000 grant for the Camp Cedars storm shelter was the right thing to do for the Conolley family. Both of Clarissa and Carlisle Conolley's children, Courtney and Spencer spend a lot of time at Camp Cedars. Courtney has worked as camp staff at the Camp Cedars Trading Post for three years and Spencer, a Life Scout spends summer camp at Cedars with Troop 3 from Trailblazer District each year. Carlisle is also at Camp Cedars for summer camp as an Assistant Scoutmaster with Troop 3. In January 2012, Carlisle will become Scoutmaster for Troop 3. He also serves as Trailblazer District Camping Chair, Training Staff and adult staff at NYLT Pahuk Pride.

"My daughter, son and husband are at Camp Cedars in the summer. It's a personal investment in having a safe environment for my family and others," said Clarissa explaining why she and her family decided to donate $2,000 for the storm shelter.

Courtney and Spencer have been at camp during stormy weather. Courtney agrees the storms are scary. Spencer remembers fishing at the lake, then having to take cover in the Nature Center and later being told to hide in a ditch during that stormy week in 2008.

"This is an opportunity to help keep kids safe and help the council," stated Clarissa. She has sent fliers to her parents and siblings to help spread the word. Clarissa has been a Mid-America Council employee for three years, previously as Program Assistant and currently as Fundraising Specialist since last summer.

The Thomsen family – Sharon Thomsen won the bid for the 'Over The Edge rappel' for her husband, Larry Thomsen at the Boy Scout golf event auction. The auction was held to benefit the Camp Cedars storm shelter.

"I was surprised Larry wanted to go rappelling because he isn't a risk taker. In fact, he almost talked himself out of it, but then decided he would do it for such a good cause," said Sharon. "I told him even if he didn't do the rappel, it was worth it for Camp Cedars."

Larry and Sharon lost their son, Sam in the tornado that struck Little Sioux Scout Ranch on June 11, 2008. They were inspired by the auction to do more fundraising for Camp Cedars and put together "Brisket 'n' Bluegrass for Camp Cedars" – an evening of great brisket, music and people.

"We were trying to think of a way to give people a reason to come and give money for the Camp Cedars storm shelter. Larry loves to BBQ and we have friends who play the blues," said Sharon. The Kopsa Family band and the Kanesville Boys played for the evening. One of the boys in the Kopsa Family Band is in the Thomsen's Troop 26 and one of the daughters is in Crew 26. They were featured at the Applegrass Festival in Council Bluffs.

"Danny Sabra is a violinist for the Kanesville Boys and an Eagle Scout. He spoke about how much Cedars meant to him and how nice it was to see people come together and do this. The Kanesville Boys won Best New Talent at Nebraska Bluegrass Festival," Sharon stated.

"Brisket and Bluegrass for Cedars went really well. We made enough brisket for 100 people and ran out of food. Our goal was to raise $1,000 and we raised $1,437. People were wonderful, kind and generous – it was heart warming." she said. "This the first time we've done something like this. We've been at Cedars for family nights many times with our son. Camp Cedars has a special place in our hearts because we know it so well. Camp Cedars affects so many boys. We're so glad to help."

You can make a donation to help match the Camp Cedars storm shelter $250,000 grant online at www.mac-bsa.org/donate or by calling 402.431.9272. Checks can be sent to: Boy Scouts of America, Mid-America Council, 12401 West Maple Road, Omaha, NE 68164, C/O Cedars Storm Shelter. The Scouts and families of the Mid-America Council thank you for your generosity. Download the Camp Cedars Trading Post Flier 

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