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History Of City Kids @ Summer Camp
During the early 1970s, the Butler Mitchell Alumni Association operated a camp in conjunction with Nick Bonifacio the director of the Butler Mitchell Boys Club and Joe “Bye”Biondolillio. Nick and Joe always felt that camping was the best learning experience for young men from the Inner-city, giving them the opportunity to enjoy an atmosphere that was far different from the asphalt and influences of the city streets. They also felt it created so many fond memories. How right they were!
Chris DelPrince, a young man who grew up on public assistance during the 1970s, took advantage of the generosity of the Alumni and many local donors to spend a week at camp each summer. Chris credits his camp experience and his Butler Mitchell families for helping him enjoy great success over the years. As a retail entrepreneur, Chris achieved many honors including National Recognition and was New York State’s Small Business Man of the Year.
Chris learned that there was more to the world outside of the streets and negative influences, and acquired much self-esteem. This experience had such a profound effect on him, he vowed to bring back the “Butler Tradition” and to keep Nick’s dream alive. Over the past 17 years he has led 100 inner-city Kids to the YMCA Camp Weona, along with the Honorable Judge Craig Hannah (Camp Co-Director 9 years) and Buffalo Police officers Darryl Williams and Al Wright whom have pledged to be at the camp every year.
Each year the camp has flourished and improved. Everyone who participates in the camp is touched so deeply that they commit their time each year and look forward to coming back. The camp enjoys the volunteer support of numerous Western New York law-enforcement agencies. Demonstrations involving the Buffalo Police Underwater Recovery Team, Bomb and Drug Dogs, Mounted Sheriffs and many others have given the kids a new understanding of Police and other law-enforcers. Lt. Mark Michalek, commander of the Buffalo Police Underwater Rescue Team commented, “We were so touched by the kid’s spirit…we volunteer to come back to camp every year!”
As you can see, this has been a lifetime commitment for Chris and many others. It is a rarity to ever have the opportunity to make a true “life changing” impact on a city kid’s life. But this is our chance!
The camp consists of 100 inner city boys and girls from 8-13 years of age who come from different community service organizations throughout the City of Buffalo. Both Chris and Judge Hannah take a week off every year and have made this a personal commitment for many years to come.
Chris DelPrince (716) 939-3037 www.CityKidsSummerCamp.com