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Local FFA hosts fundraiser for Camp Courage

New Richmond FFA members are working together to help raise money for Camp Courage, a camp designed for children with special needs.

Dubbed the "Corn Drive," the fundraiser has been a New Richmond tradition for more than 30 years, said Gabes Rabb, New Richmond's FFA president. To date, the local chapter has raised more than $105,000 for Camp Courage.

FFA used to collect corn from area farmers, hence the Corn Drive name, said Ellie Wallace, vice president.

"That's what it's known as, so we still call it that," she said, even though corn is no longer collected.

Now, students write letters and visit local businesses and farms to collect money for Camp Courage.

"We've sent over 500 letters and are already receiving donations," Rabb said.

All the children who attend Camp Courage have some sort of disability or impairment. Because staff members need to have special certifications and training, the cost of running Camp Courage is higher than most other camps. Donations to the Corn Drive directly help with expenses and activities at the camp, including swimming, horseback riding and crafts.

"It's kind of a safe haven for the kids," said Wallace.

The Corn Drive will run through the end of the year, she said.

The success of the drive varies from year-to-year, but Wallace said the group usually nets about $6,000 annually for Camp Courage.

"It's hard with the economy, but every little bit counts," she said.

Since New Richmond's FFA is a top contributor to the organization, a representative from Camp Courage usually attends the local chapter's spring banquet to collect the money.

"Last year was really great because they shared stories about the kids at the camp," said Wallace. "It was pretty emotional and really made you feel like you're making more of an impact."

Anyone wishing to donate can send payment to New Richmond FFA, c/o Rachel Sauvola, at 701 E. 11th St., New Richmond, Wis. 54017. For additional information, contact Sauvola, FFA advisor, at 715-243-1761.

Jackie Grumish
Jackie Grumish has been a reporter with the New Richmond News since 2008. She holds degrees in journalism and fine art from Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, Ill. Before coming to New Richmond, Jackie worked as the city government reporter at a daily newspaper in Aberdeen, S.D. 
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