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Camp Hope finds friend in car dealership owner

Thursday, July 22, 2010
Last updated: Thursday July 22, 2010, 1:15 AM

BY MATTHEW KADOSH
Passaic Valley Today
STAFF WRITER
From left, Judith Schumacher-Tilton; Karen Cisco, director of Camp Hope, and Stephen Tilton Jr. at the launch of Give the Kids Hope Foundation Inc. Schumacher and Tilton started the non-profit to raise money Passaic County's Camp Hope.

STAFF PHOTO BY PIERFRANCESCO BACCARO
From left, Judith Schumacher-Tilton; Karen Cisco, director of Camp Hope, and Stephen Tilton Jr. at the launch of Give the Kids Hope Foundation Inc. Schumacher and Tilton started the non-profit to raise money Passaic County’s Camp Hope.

LITTLE FALLS – Local business owners have started a heartwarming charity to raise money to help seniors and underprivileged children.

Stephen Tilton Jr. and Judith Schumacher-Tilton, owners of Schumacher Chevrolet on Main Street and Gearhart Chevrolet in Denville, last month established Give the Kids Hope Foundation, Inc. The non-profit organization is raising money for Camp Hope, a Passaic County facility located in West Milford that serves as a summer camp for underprivileged children and a facility for seniors in the wintertime.

“I went through serious medical issues and after successfully coming through that I began to give back a little more,” Tilton said. “The primary goal of the foundation will be to raise money for Camp Hope.”

They kicked off the foundation at a fundraiser in Cedar Grove last month.

“It went very well. We were actually able to raise money as a result of that,” Tilton said.

The Tiltons had previously raised enough money for the camp to buy a pool heater, said Karen Cisco, director of Camp Hope. Cisco said that the Tiltons donated funds for the heater that the camp installed last week and that Give the Kids Hope Foundation Inc. is raising money to replace their arts and crafts building, which is one of the oldest buildings in the camp. Tilton said they raised $6,000 for the pool heater.

Maria Paladino-Fitz, president of Media Consultants Inc., who is donating her time to represent the foundation, said the Schumachers raised about half the money needed to purchase the pool heater in December by pledging $50 for every car sold at their two auto dealerships. It’s a significant improvement for the pool.

“The pool is ice cold because it’s well water. It’s beyond refreshing. Its chilling,” Paladino said of the pool’s previous temperatures.

“We’re extremely excited about this,” Cisco said. “This summer kids have been coming up in large numbers. Weather has been good to us and the kids love the swimming pool.”

Between July and August the camp serves more than 2,000 children, and between June and September they have activities for Passaic County seniors, Cisco said. Most recently, she said, they had programs for 10 groups of seniors.

Camp Hope has been operating since the 30s and is one of the largest county facilities in the state, Cisco said. She said many seniors are attracted to the facility because they came there as children.

“They reflect on their youth,” Cisco said.

All donations given to Give the Kids Hope Foundation Inc. go to the cause, Paladino-Fitz said.

“I like to tell people that this is a feel-good charity. You see immediate results and we give back 100 percent,” she said. “Your going to see money put to use that’s going to help people in your own neighborhood.”

The foundation’s sponsors include Cablevision, Eastern Propane, Gearhart Chevrolet, Lakeland Bank, Media Consultants, New Jersey Life, Okin Design, The Star-Ledger, Studio D, Verizon FiOS, Comcast Spotlight, the Passaic County chapter of inBiz Connection, Texas Liquids and Vicinity Media Group.

Give the Kids Hope Foundation Inc.’s next benefit will be an all day golf outing at the Greenbrook Country in North Caldwell. For details contact Sandy Okin at 973-809-0029.

For more on the foundation, visit www.givethekidshope.org.

“It is a great opportunity to help the camp and help the kids,” Tilton said.

E-mail: kadosh@northjersey.com

LITTLE FALLS – Local business owners have started a heartwarming charity to raise money to help seniors and underprivileged children.

Stephen Tilton Jr. and Judith Schumacher-Tilton, owners of Schumacher Chevrolet on Main Street and Gearhart Chevrolet in Denville, last month established Give the Kids Hope Foundation, Inc. The non-profit organization is raising money for Camp Hope, a Passaic County facility located in West Milford that serves as a summer camp for underprivileged children and a facility for seniors in the wintertime.

“I went through serious medical issues and after successfully coming through that I began to give back a little more,” Tilton said. “The primary goal of the foundation will be to raise money for Camp Hope.”

They kicked off the foundation at a fundraiser in Cedar Grove last month.

“It went very well. We were actually able to raise money as a result of that,” Tilton said.

The Tiltons had previously raised enough money for the camp to buy a pool heater, said Karen Cisco, director of Camp Hope. Cisco said that the Tiltons donated funds for the heater that the camp installed last week and that Give the Kids Hope Foundation Inc. is raising money to replace their arts and crafts building, which is one of the oldest buildings in the camp. Tilton said they raised $6,000 for the pool heater.

Maria Paladino-Fitz, president of Media Consultants Inc., who is donating her time to represent the foundation, said the Schumachers raised about half the money needed to purchase the pool heater in December by pledging $50 for every car sold at their two auto dealerships. It’s a significant improvement for the pool.

“The pool is ice cold because it’s well water. It’s beyond refreshing. Its chilling,” Paladino said of the pool’s previous temperatures.

“We’re extremely excited about this,” Cisco said. “This summer kids have been coming up in large numbers. Weather has been good to us and the kids love the swimming pool.”

Between July and August the camp serves more than 2,000 children, and between June and September they have activities for Passaic County seniors, Cisco said. Most recently, she said, they had programs for 10 groups of seniors.

Camp Hope has been operating since the 30s and is one of the largest county facilities in the state, Cisco said. She said many seniors are attracted to the facility because they came there as children.

“They reflect on their youth,” Cisco said.

All donations given to Give the Kids Hope Foundation Inc. go to the cause, Paladino-Fitz said.

“I like to tell people that this is a feel-good charity. You see immediate results and we give back 100 percent,” she said. “Your going to see money put to use that’s going to help people in your own neighborhood.”

The foundation’s sponsors include Cablevision, Eastern Propane, Gearhart Chevrolet, Lakeland Bank, Media Consultants, New Jersey Life, Okin Design, The Star-Ledger, Studio D, Verizon FiOS, Comcast Spotlight, the Passaic County chapter of inBiz Connection, Texas Liquids and Vicinity Media Group.

Give the Kids Hope Foundation Inc.’s next benefit will be an all day golf outing at the Greenbrook Country in North Caldwell. For details contact Sandy Okin at 973-809-0029.

For more on the foundation, visit www.givethekidshope.org.

“It is a great opportunity to help the camp and help the kids,” Tilton said.

Camp Hope gets helping hand from car dealer

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Passaic Valley Today

JUDITH SCHUMACHER-TILTON

During the holiday season, it’s a time to give thanks for blessings and to remember those who are less fortunate. Find a charity that is close to home and if you have been blessed with health and financial stability, make a difference in someone else’s life or put a smile on the face of just one child.

“Giving can be so rewarding, it’s a feeling you can’t put a price on” said Stephen Tilton, chief financial officer of the family owned Schumacher Chevrolet in Little Falls. “I have a charity that is very dear to my own heart and I ask others to consider it too.”

That charity is Camp Hope, a 62 acre wooded retreat located on Greenwood Lake in West Milford. It buzzes year-round with activity and gives thousands of under privileged children and senior citizens a chance to escape the inner city environment for a day or an overnight vacation getaway.

Camp Hope was founded in 1938 as a hope and dream for Passaic County children that lived through the Depression of 1929 and came from families who were still struggling through each and every day. It was given the name “Camp Hope” to give hope to men, women and children who were less fortunate, so they might see that there is an opportunity for all to prosper and live a good life.

Every summer, the camp is filled with energy and laughter as hundreds of children converge to enjoy the fun and sun. At Camp Hope, children have the opportunity to swim in the county’s Olympic sized swimming pool, create craft projects, go paddle boating, play ball games and miniature golf, take nature hikes, dance and experience life in a wholesome way.

As camp ends and the school year begins, senior citizens reclaim Camp Hope as their own, where from September to June, senior groups from around Passaic County eagerly pack buses to visit Camp Hope for a day filled with good food, friends, and activities such as bingo, dancing and live music, bocce, horseshoes, cards and laughs.

The Tuesday Supper Club and a line-dancing program are also popular programs for the seniors. Each month the camp celebrates a different theme, except for the two constant themes, which are “We’re All Irish in March,” featuring Camp Hope’s famous corned beef and cabbage, and “Octoberfest” during October when all are invited to visit and view the fall colors.

The Passaic County Board of Chosen Freeholders sponsor all qualified children to attend camp free of charge and Camp Hope is run by a dedicated and trained staff; many of whom were once campers themselves. The Camp Hope Commission runs the daily operations and is comprised of two members of the Board of Chosen Freeholders, five members of the public and the Passaic County Adjuster.

Camp Hope is currently in the midst of a multi-year renovation project and is in desperate need of donations. All the camp’s cabins are run down and in need of major repair. The water heater, needed to warm up the cold well water that supplies the pool is broken, the recreation hall needs much work, a building that used to hold supplies for the camp ground (the commissary) was recently demolished and a playground is hoped to be built in that spot.

“It’s my dream to help build a new multi-media center where children can enjoy movies on a big screen on days when the weather is inclement,” said Tilton. “Both of our dealerships will be donating $50 for every new car delivered during the month of December and we are also accepting donations in our showrooms on behalf of Camp Hope. I encourage all individuals and organizations to consider them as well.”

Both Schumacher Chevrolet and Gearhart Chevrolet in Denville, are owned by Judith Schumacher-Tilton, who also shares the passion of her son Stephen, and is committed to helping Camp Hope. She is one of just a handful of women who own and operate automotive dealerships in the state.

For more information about Camp Hope, call 973-728-8166 or visit www.PassaicCountyNJ.org/departments to view the photo gallery.