Eagle County kids camp to benefit from new bill | VailDaily.com

Eagle County kids camp to benefit from new bill

CVR Bill Signing DT 6-6-11

AVON, Colorado – The Roundup River Ranch camp for kids got a healthy boost Monday with a few strokes of Gov. John Hickenlooper’s pen.

Sitting a table on the pier of Nottingham Lake, and surrounded by camp board members and supporters, Hickenlooper signed a bill – sponsored by Rep. Millie Hamner and Sen. Bob Bacon – that adds the ranch to the list of Colorado nonprofits already in the state’s tax checkoff system. Taxpayers can make a donation to those charities by adding a dollar for each to their state income tax form. The program doesn’t use taxpayer money, and the contributions are added to tax bills.

The idea to get the camp on the state tax checkoff list came from board member Brenda Allerton, who contacted Hamner.

Some of the charities raise a few thousand dollars a year. The Make a Wish Foundation raises more than $200,000 per year. Given that Roundup River Ranch is member of the Hole in the Wall camps founded by actor Paul Newman, camp supporters hope they can convince state taxpayers to be equally generous.

The camp – which opens to kids July 6 and will be fully staffed with counselors and medical people – is free to those who attend. That means the camp foundation needs to raise between $2 million and $3 million per year.

“It’s a transformational experience for the kids,” camp board of directors chairwoman Alison Knapp said.

With a week of supervised fun and activity, kids get a chance to act like kids, not patients, for a week. Families get a much-needed break from their roles as caregivers. Everyone benefits.

Hickenlooper agreed that the camp will change lives, and challenged camp supporters to find an effective way to inform the public about both the ranch and the relatively painless way to contribute to it.

And, since camp backers have already raised $22 million to build the camp, Knapp said she’s confident the board can find the money to keep the place operating.

“We’ll take full advantage of this,” camp director Ruth Johnson said.

Business Editor Scott N. Miller can be reached at 970-748-2930 or smiller@vaildaily.com.

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