By Jack Griffith
This year, the HFTP Annual Convention will be held October 25–27 in the Orlando area, my home turf. And for the third year, the convention program includes HFTP Helps which raises funds for a charity based in the surrounding area of the host city. When planning, HFTP Global conferred with HFTP Mid-Florida chapter leaders for local charity suggestions. Without hesitation, we named Camp Boggy Creek, a free, safe and medically-sound camp environment that enriches the lives of children with serious illnesses and their families. The HFTP Mid-Florida Chapter has been raising funds for Camp Boggy Creek through an annual golf tournament, and September 29 will be the chapter’s 15th tournament to benefit the camp. I thought I’d share a bit of my experience working with the camp, and why our chapter has been so dedicated to it.
Camp Boggy Creek was founded in 1996 by Paul Newman and General H. Norman Schwarzkopf, with one simple premise in mind, that every child, no matter their illness, could experience the transformational spirit and friendships that go hand in hand with camp. Camp Boggy Creek is a proud member of the SeriousFun Children’s Network, founded by Paul Newman.
The relationship between the HFTP Mid-Florida Chapter and Boggy Creek began in 2003. Our board at the time met with a handful of charities, of which Camp Boggy Creek was one; and after some deliberation the camp was chosen to be our charity of choice. Five of the directors of that board are still active members of the chapter. They are William Parrish, Kristopher Shoemaker, Gregory Wilhelm, David Branson and Michael Dryden. The vehicle chosen to raise the funds to contribute was an Annual Charity Golf Tournament, the first of which was held on June 13, 2003. The tournament resulted in a donation to the camp of $11,000. In 2016 the donation was $23,500, taking the total donated to over $175,000.
My relationship with the camp began in 2009 after becoming an HFTP member and playing in that year’s tournament. A few years into my membership I was elected to the board and joined the golf committee. And in 2014, I agreed to become the chair of the committee. The highlight of that year’s tournament was not my team taking the first-place trophies, but was to work with Jessica Shefferman, the camp’s liaison. She was a delightful young lady who had come full circle with the camp. As a young girl, she was a camper, beat her illness, and returned to the camp as a volunteer and then an employee. In 2015 my wife and I attended the Annual Schwarzkopf luncheon hosted by the camp. We got a tour of the grounds, met a doctor and other volunteers who return every year at no charge to the camp. The warmth, love and compassion demonstrated by these individuals and the leaders of the camp is overwhelming. One last note I’d like to share is the tagline on all our tournament related literature: “Remember, it’s all for the kids.”
If you would like to contribute to this worthy organization, consider donating an item for the HFTP Helps Silent Auction to be held at the HFTP Tribute to Success dinner held on October 27 at the Annual Convention. Get details.
Jack Griffith (Jack.Griffith@centerplate.com) is the controller for Centerplate, located in Orlando, Florida USA. He is also the treasurer of the HFTP Mid-Florida Chapter.