The story of the Rotary Club of the Moriches and Camp Paquatuck starts in 1946, when a group of Moriches Rotarians came up with the idea to develop a special camp for special-needs …
The story of the Rotary Club of the Moriches and Camp Paquatuck starts in 1946, when a group of Moriches Rotarians came up with the idea to develop a special camp for special-needs children.
“This is an exciting time as we celebrate these amazing milestones for the Moriches Rotary, Camp Paquatuck, and the community,” said Deborah Brown-Volkman, president of the club.
The camp originally began with a few kids sleeping in tents under the stars and has now evolved into a state-of-the-art facility for children with disabilities. It was named after the creek (Paquatuck Creek), which runs into the Moriches Bay. This creek became known as Kalers Pond in 1802. By 1960, the camp was extended to about 120 campers for two to four weeks, and in 1968 land was donated to the camp at no charge. In 1968, another 18 acres was purchased by the camp for $9,000.
Every summer, approximately 450 to 500 children attend the camp. The camp is fully run from the generosity of other Rotary Clubs and service groups like the Lions, Kiwanis, Knights of Columbus, Camp and Paquatuck Squaws.
The current president of the rotary is Brown-Volkman, with Peter Traina as the vice president. Matt Crennan serves as treasurer and Dina Aponte as secretary. Other members include Elise Allen, Barbara Caldwell, Geraldine Sapanaro, Muriel Corcoran, Maureen Klisey, Megan Noia, Nicole Stork, Laura Dunathan, Julia Pratt, Kiki McKeon, Steve Kronman and Newt Homan.
“I have been a member for five years; it’s been a great pleasure to be a part of the Rotary and the camp,” said Sapanaro, noting she is one of the club’s newer members.
The club started in 1937. Gus Stout Jr., a charter member of the Moriches Rotary, served as the president of the Board of Director of Camp PaQuaTuck till he passed in 1978. He was also president of Moriches Rotary from 1942 to ‘43. In 1972, the Camp Paquatuck Squaws organized and helped raised money for the camp. They are the prime fundraisers for the camp, even still creating events like the Spooky Walk. In December, they gave the camp a check for $285,000.
Though COVID interrupted the operations of the camp for the past three years, they were able to offer an online program for campers. During this time, over $2 million was spent to help upgrade the camp’s cabins and grounds. This summer, 2023, they can’t wait to serve the children again with their motto, “Summer Is For Everyone.” Their major project for the new year is to replace the in-ground pool.
The club’s anniversary dinner party was held last month on Jan. 21 at the camp. To donate to the camp visit: https://camppaquatuck.com/. Also, the Rotary is always looking for new members and meets Thursdays at 6:15 p.m. at the camp. For more information visit: https://www.rotary7255.org/clubinfo/the-moriches.
No comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here