June 22, 2004
The Chandler Mayor’s Youth Commission needs help raising money to send teenagers to a diversity camp this fall.
The commission wants to send 65 youngsters, ages 15 to 18, to Prescott for the Unitown Camp Oct. 14-18. Those attending the camp learn about about different cultures, races, religions and socioeconomic groups, said Sara C de Baca, a Chandler recreation coordinator and staff liaison for the commission.
C de Baca said the commission has raised about $3,500, but needs $10,000.
"We need more ideas for fund-raisers," said Heather DeVoe, an officer for the commission who attended last year’s camp. "We need more sponsors to get the chance to go again. We’re working on that now, but we still need help from other sources."
C de Baca said the donations are important so the commission doesn’t have to charge participants to attend.
"The whole point of the camp is to break down barriers, and we want to make sure we have all races, all religions and all socioeconomic backgrounds," she said. "The minute you tack on a fee, you only get the upper-income level kids, which are 80 percent white, and that ruins the point of the camp because it’s all about diversity and it’s hard to do that when you only have one type of kid."
DeVoe, 15, said the camp is an important learning experience for teens about cultures and religions different from their own.
"It let me see what they have to go through, what they practice, how they do it and why they do it. It’s really interesting," she said. "I think that everyone should have the opportunity to go."
C de Baca said the camp gets teens "thinking in a different way and gets them connecting with people that they wouldn’t normally connect with."
To learn more about the commission or to make a contribution, call C de Baca at (480) 782-2712.
Also, the commission earns 15 percent of proceeds from purchases at Baja Fresh Mexican Grill in Chandler and Gilbert the first Friday of each month if customers bring in a flier. Fliers are available at the Chandler Community Center, 125 E. Commonwealth Ave., and at the Snedigar Sportsplex, 4500 S. Basha Road.