Camp K benefits from Utah's Day of Caring

September 11, 2015
Author: Good4Utah
SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 Utah) - Four and half thousand volunteers. Five hundred thousand dollars worth of work. One day. The United Way's Day of Caring in Utah was a huge success on Thursday. One example of the incredible volunteer effort was found up at Camp Kostopulos in Emigration Canyon. 
Peter Nielson and Matt Garber may look like they are experienced builders - but they quickly admit they are not. Nielson: "Back in elementary school I think I helped put some wood chips down on a trail once." Garber is actually a social worker. Nielson an IT specialist. And both men work for the LDS Church. I asked Garber to compare his job versus building a retaining wall. "Compared to what I do everyday - compared to this? It's tough and hard work. I have a lot of respect for people who do this all day long."
Nielson, Garber and 150 other Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints employees volunteered at Camp Kostopulos on Thursday as part of the United Way Day of Caring in Utah. Nielson: "I love it. I could do this all day. I mean its outside, this is the best time of year. The people are great to work with. It's for a good cause." Garber echoed that sentiment. "This camp is helping people with disabilities have fun. I work with people with disabilities and refugees. And work with people trying to have a better life and succeed and this is fun. A good opportunity."  
The volunteers painted equipment. They worked on gardens. They cleaned the horse arena. Made repairs and the big project - adding on to last year's trail work. Howard Bangerter a Day of Caring supervisor for LDS Church employees says that last year employees help expand the horse trails above the camp. And this year "The crews are just pushing that trail further up. We're cutting new grades, putting in retaining walls, surfacing them with bark. It's a terrific project."
Camp K provides recreation and education opportunities for people with disabilities. CEO Mircea Divricean tells us this one day of caring will benefit the camp for years down the road.  "When you are up on a horse you are going to have wonderful pristine view behind you and that is going to mean so much for our participants who are going to come and take advantage of it." And he adds that the donated materials and free labor from Day of Caring would have cost Camp K about 50-thousand dollars. "It's amazing and can't thank the community enough, the LDS Church, Old Castle and all the people who are coming together to help us to keep improving Camp K and making it better for all the participants that we provide services to."
The volunteers say they are happy to lend a helping hand. And they add - they'll remember what they did and their bodies will feel what they did for sometime. Bangerter: "I think we'll go home with a lot of blisters, especially in this area and a lot of dirt on our faces... Absolutely worth it."   
We also want to mention we are partners with Camp K and musician Scott Helmer an attempt to raise one million dollars during a world record attempt on December 1st - Day of Giving. For more information check out the Camp K stories and the links below.