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Philanthropy Friday: Spotlight on Flying Horse Farms

 columbus imPRessions Philanthropy Friday: Spotlight on Flying Horse Farms
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Situated on nearly 200 acres in Mt. Gilead, Ohio, Flying Horse Farms will be a fun-filled, magical camp for children with serious illnesses. The camp will serve children from the Columbus area, as well throughout the Midwest, with arthritis, severe asthma, cancer, gastrointestinal disease, heart disease, hemophilia and related blood disorders, sickle cell disease and related disorders. Doctors and nurses from area children’s hospitals will staff an on-site, first-class medical facility. It will be commonplace for a child to receive treatments, daily infusions or medications at the camp, allowing thousands of children to attend who otherwise would be unable.

Currently in the development phase, Flying Horse Farms is being designed to inspire children to reach beyond their conditions through safe adventures at no charge to the campers’ families. Delivering year-round experiences to over 2500 children and families, the custom-designed facility will open in 2010, while providing off-site camp opportunities until then. Programs will include summer camps for children ages 8 to 15, winter camps, sibling camps, teen retreats and family camps.

The Big Red Barn

The camp’s name was inspired by the storybook “The Big Red Barn” by Margaret Wise Brown, where a golden flying horse was the weather vane on top of a barn on a farm where children played freely. Founders Jenni and David Belford, who, through a series of experiences on their own farm with another local non-profit organization, A Kid Again, were moved to build a permanent, year-round camp for children with serious illnesses. Flying Horse Farms is a provisional member of the Association of Hole in the Wall Camps, the world’s largest family of camps for children with serious illnesses founded by Paul Newman.

Flying Horse Away

Until the camp is built and fully functional in 2010, off-site camp programs will be run such as Flying Horse Away, an initiative that has sent campers to other Hole in the Wall camps since 2006. In the spring of 2006, Flying Horse Farms approached three of the Association of Hole in the Wall Camps to help. Showing a wonderful spirit of cooperation, the camps offered 25 camperships for Ohio children during the summer of 2006. The camps donated space and Flying Horse Farms coordinated and paid for transportation. Since then, Flying Horse Farms has provided 140 opportunities for children across Ohio to experience the life-changing joy of camp and will send an additional 90 children to camp this summer.

If You Build It They Will Come

Flying Horse Farms will be celebrating its groundbreaking this Saturday, June 13th from 2-4 p.m. Everyone is welcome to attend. There will be a brief ceremony with some very special surprises at 2:30 followed by tours of the camp and fun kid activities. Refreshments will be served and ample parking is available at the camp entrance, located approximately three miles west of the I-71/Route 95 exit (exit #151).

Capital Campaign Funding

With construction officially starting in July and an opening slated for Fall 2010, Flying Horse Farms is in the midst of a $20 million capital campaign to raise the funds needed for the construction of the camp. They have been reaching out to corporations and individuals to raise awareness and money. Currently, they have naming opportunities for the buildings at the camp and are taking general donations.

They also have people raise money on their behalf through Team Hole in the Wall. Individuals have been running marathons and participating in triathlons and getting sponsors to reach money goals that they have set. They also have a great partnership with AD Farrow Harley Davidson, who has developed an annual ride, called the Flying Horse Ride, to help raise money for the camp. This year, it’ll be a 600+ ride around Lake Erie June 26-28 and over 70 riders have signed up to participate with more expected.

Time, Talent and Treasure

Since the camp is not open yet, volunteers are needed to help spread the mission of Flying Horse Farms. They could always use extra help at events, with office support in their Lewis Center office, as well as help with the Flying Horse Away program. If you have a special talent like carpentry, painting, or are willing to get your hands dirty they could use your help as they construct the camp. If you’d rather make a donation, on-line donations can be made via their website by clicking here.

To read a touching behind the scenes story about Flying Horse Farms and to see more photos visit ColumbusImpressions.com.

Flying Horse Farms staff office is located in the Columbus area at 225 Green Meadows Drive South, Suite A
, Lewis Center, OH 43035. For more information on Flying Horse Farms visit FlyingHorseFarms.org.

Philanthropy Friday is a feature article by columbus imPRessions that will highlight a Columbus area non-profit organization every other week.

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