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June 28, 2003

Sertoma hears the needs of the deaf

From: News Chief, FL - Jun 28, 2003

Children stage ceremony for special camp


DUNDEE -- In a summer where camps have become the popular pastime for children, one particular such establishment has a specialty no one else can claim in Polk.

Sertoma's Camp Endeavor for hearing impaired and deaf children had a special ceremony Saturday to celebrate its staff, supporters and friends.

"The children put on a program, (and) they did God Bless the USA in sign language and skits," explained Lorett Mazzuco, camp executive director.

The presentation's audience encompassed the facility's board of directors, about 25 campers and 20 counselors, she added. Also present were public officials from around the area.

"Our camp has been open since 1990, with the auditorium opening in 1989," Mazzuco recalled. "Sertoma is an international charitable organization supporting the hearing impaired and deaf with programs like this."

No exact figures on the camp's original cost were available.

As the future progresses and more children who lack hearing come to Polk, though, Mazzuco and those at Camp Endeavor say they have lofty visions for the facility.

"My goal is, I'd like to see the camp double in size," she stated.

But there are some impediments to the camp's success, the executive director added.

"Publicity is hard to come by, and so school officials are hesitant to recommend us," she explained. "We have to rely on word of mouth."

About half of the staff at the camp are deaf themselves, Mazzuco said, so that "...we have both sides of the coin."

Children from all over the state come to Polk to experience the advantages that a deaf camp can bring, records stated.

Those seeking more information or wanting to donate can visit the camp at 1300 Camp Endeavor Blvd., or contact the facility directly at 439-1300.

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