Topic: Youth-Focused Initiatives
For a week each summer, children with cancer get to just be kids when funds raised by WKOL-FM in Burlington, Vt., allow them to go to Camp Ta-Kum-Ta. Every morning from 5 Ė 10 a.m. during the week before Christmas, the station replaces regular programming with a "Camp Ta-Kum-Ta-Thon" fundraiser, where doctors, local television personalities, politicians and sports figures join WKOL staff in asking listeners to help send kids to the all volunteer-run camp. Mark Knight, co-host of the radiothon, travels to the camp each summer to interview children and record their stories for broadcast during the radiothon. Jon Brooks, morning show personality and co-host of the radiothon, is on the campís board. Businesses challenge each other to raise the most funds for this true community-wide event, and a group of brave souls jumps into Lake Champlain in exchange for pledges. The radiothon also has inspired listeners to share their time and talents at the summer camp. One year a farmer transported his farm animals and created a Camp Ta-Kum-Ta petting zoo; another listener set up a tethered hot-air balloon ride. The station starts promotional mentions for the five-day event right after Thanksgiving, and calls in anticipation of the event start long before its official kick-off. The camp has room to accommodate 70 children. The $160,000 raised by WKOL during its most recent "Camp Ta-Kum-Ta-Thon" was enough to fund all 70 spots.
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