The NJSGA Youth Foundation recently announced a three-year partnership with the ARC of Essex County and the ARC of Union County.

Founded in the 1950s by parents of affected children, ARC organizations serve people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

The Youth Foundation has pledged to donate a total of $80,000 over the next three years. This year, $20,000 will be donated to each ARC organization, and another $10,000 will be donated to each organization in both 2019 and 2020.

The not-for-profit NJSGA Youth Foundation supports deserving youth golf and sports-related programs throughout the State of New Jersey. This support is provided through grants, instructional clinics, and recognition through NJSGA publications and events.

The announcement of the partnership was made on May 24 at a dinner at Baltusrol Golf Club in Springfield. The funding was the result of a Youth Foundation capital appeal from each of the remaining six founding clubs of the NJSGA: Baltusrol G.C., Essex County C.C., Montclair G.C., Morris County G. C., North Jersey C.C., and Plainfield C.C. In addition, Fairmount C.C. and the New Jersey Seniors Golf Association also made significant gifts.

“For several years, we have been seeking partnerships with organizations like the ARC. We are very impressed by the work they do,” said Frank O’Brien, chairman of the Youth Foundation. “When we met with ARC representatives, I was very impressed by the programs they offer to so many kids and the enthusiasm and devotion the staffs have for their mission.The good work that these folks do, and the passion they have for these children is unbelievable. It is really moving,” he said.

The ARC of Essex County’s summer program includes Camp Hope in East Hanover. Camp Hope is a seven-week day camp program, for campers with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Operating since 1956, camp runs Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., starting in July and ending in August, with transportation provided for campers living in Essex County and surrounding areas.

The ARC of Union County’s Camp Star, at Echo Lake Park in Mountainside, is offered for four weeks in August. The camp is a safe, structured environment for children and teens ages 3 to 21 years old with special needs, and their siblings. The camp is designed to enhance personal and social development, language and communication skills, learning, and motor and muscular coordination.

This year, the donations will be used for a one-time purchase of equipment for both ARC organizations to expand their summer programs. Another portion of the donations will be used for special instructors for those summer programs.

"The NJSGA and the ARC of Union County are entering into a substantial joint effort to give children a chance to learn and grow, and to realize the opportunity to be successful with outdoor sports, whether it's soccer, baseball or golf. Children with disabilities are children first, and they all want the opportunity to learn to be successful,” said Frank Caragher, executive director for the ARC of Union County.

“The ARC of Essex County is excited to embark on the partnership with the golf community through the New Jersey State Golf Association. This multi-year commitment will enable the ARC to purchase equipment and hire an adaptive sports specialist for Camp Hope, further enhancing the summer day camp experience for children and adults with Autism, Down syndrome, and other intellectual and developmental disabilities in northern New Jersey,” said Linda Cancro Lucas, CEO of the ARC of Essex County.

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