Since Summer 1994, Dianne Wooldridge has worked tirelessly to insure that a special group of 150+ children who attend the Zaragoza Superkids program at Zaragoza Elementary School have the opportunity to attend Camp We Can, a summer camping experience.
The children who attend the Zaragoza Elementary School and the Zaragoza Superkids After School program live in a community that is ethnically diverse, economically disadvantaged and has the highest population of homeless children in the Dallas Independent School District.
Wooldridge’s Senior Girl Scout troop founded Camp We Can as the community service part of earning their Girl Scout Gold Award (the highest award a girl can earn in Girl Scouting) in 1994. Wooldridge so enjoyed seeking how Camp We Can made an impact on the children that she has stayed with Camp We Can as the volunteer director ever since.
Wooldridge’s commitment begins in early spring, organizing the team of nearly 30 Camp We Can volunteers and planning activities and events. Camp We Can includes three five-day sessions for campers, and 1998 brought in the program’s first weeklong program for older children. The children from the Zaragoza Superkids program are served during the first two sessions of camp. During the third session, children from a number of area shelters attend the camp. Following the camp sessions, Wooldridge conducts a thorough evaluation to prepare for the next year. It is estimated that she spends no less than 200 hours a year working to create a fun, educational experience for Camp We Can participants.
As the director, Wooldridge is involved in all camp activities: lifeguarding, directing activities, creating programs, supervising other volunteers, clean up activities and many other things that make the Camp We Can program run smoothly. Through all that is on her list each day during camp, she always makes time to talk to the children attending the camp. Since its inception, the program has benefited more than 800 children, providing them with the opportunity to leave their environment, at least temporarily, and enjoy a camp experience, like any other youngster.