2010 IFWDA 4XKids Day
By: Marcie Bennett – Fat Boys Jeepers
WHAT A Grrrrrrrrrr-RATE DAY!!! Camp Riley 4XKids Day has become a highlight of our summer. This year we took our five year old son, Carson. Although he asked a lot of questions about the campers, he enjoyed interacting with them and had a great time. Our day started leaving Lewisburg, Ohio at 745AM and headed towards Indianapolis. As we got closer to Camp Riley in Martinsville, Indiana on IN- 67, we fell into the Jeep-a-van of those Jeepers that had met earlier for breakfast. We arrived at Bradford Woods in Martinsville, Indiana – the home of Camp Riley at 9:55 AM.
Upon our arrival, we immediately start getting the jeeps ready for the campers by removing the top, removing the driver's door, removing Carson's car seat, installing another rear seat belt, and covering the seats with towels to protect the campers. Then we headed out to pre-run the course to make sure the trails do not have brush, limbs orother debris blocking the trails. After pre-running the course we headed to the loading and unloading area and set up another tent to protect the wheelchairs from the intense sun and heat. Carson enjoyed helping the staffers with the chalk designs on the pavement in the loading and unloading zones. After the tent was set up, we headed back to our staging area near the stables for a hot dog lunch, chips, snacks and camaraderie with our fellow Jeepers from Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky and Illinois who were on hand to enjoy the day with the campers. This year there were 24 Jeeps and nearly 40 volunteers for this special event.
Although, the day was extremely hot, Jeepers and campers alike had a great day. The campers, about 100 in a rotation, got their much anticipated Jeep ride. After their Jeep ride they received a 4XKids Day Event shirt and temporary IFWDA Tattoos and Riley Tattoos. The campers participated in other activities while they awaited their Jeep rides. They painted a camp counselor's car with tempra paints. They pulled a Ford Explorer back into a parking space and participated in arts and crafts and made special thank you cards for the drivers. While my husband, Bobby, was giving Jeep rides, I was applying temporary tattoos to the campers. The campers all raved that this was their favorite activity while at Camp Riley. After the rides were completed, we gathered in their dining hall for the closing ceremonies and heartfelt thank yous. I believe those thank yous could have been heard in downtown Indianapolis from all the campers who love the Jeeps, their rides, the driver's, and the 4xKids Day. The counselors keep reiterating that year after year this is the most popular of their camp activities. The generosity from the four wheel drive community was astounding! Cash donations totaling over $4,000 were given to Camp Riley to be held in a special account which will be used towards a Bradford Woods special project. Donations included $1900 from the 2010 event shirt sponsors, $1000 from IFWDA, $1000 from Fat Boys Jeepers, $160 from both Wayne County Fair Board (Richmond, IN) and Fat Boys Jeepers. After the check presentations, two new Camp Riley wagons were donated on behalf of Iron Horse 4x4 club by club president T.J. Piccirilli and treasurer Randy Brooks, They are sharp looking additions to the ever growing Camp Riley wagon fleet!
The following companies, organizations and individuals participated by sponsoring the shirt:
HI-LIFT Jack Company
Randy & Joanne Brooks Foundation
Fat Boys Jeepers
Big Dog Pizza and Pasta
Iron Horse 4X4’s
Ruffriders 4X4 Club
Great Lakes Four Wheel Drive
American Society of Plumbing
Engineers- Central Indiana Chapter
Your Rides Here
Hoosier Container Inc.
Robin D. Henry
Telpri (PITCH) Piccirilli
After the closing ceremonies, Mark Keener, Michelle Montgomery and Scott Sperling were leaving the dining hall, when a camper approached Scott Sperling and the two of them exchanged a very heartwarming conversation, that I feel everyone needs to know about and their conversation went like this:
Camper: Are you the leader here?
Scott: Leader of what?
Camper: All of the Jeepers?
Scott: Yes, I guess I am. (Hmmm, for some reason Scott wasn't wanting to claim us!)
Camper: I'd like to give this to you.(hands Scott a quarter)
Scott: What's this for?
Camper: For coming out here today to give us rides. It was a lot of fun!
Scott: This isn't necessary, we all enjoyed it too.
Camper: No, I want you to have it. If you want to, follow me to my cabin and I have two more quarters there I will give you. Then you can buy a bottle of pop from the machine.
Scott: (tearing up at this point!) Thank you! But this is MORE than enough!!
All of those within earshot of this conversation were tearing up at this point. These kids are really amazing! After the closing ceremonies, we loaded up all the tents and miscellaneous gear used during the day. We then reassembled our Jeeps and headed over to MOJO Offroad for the after party. After dinner, MOJO installed a budget boost lift on Sarah Mattox newly acquired Jeep Wrangler. In In a mini Jeep-a-van of two, ourselves and Scott Sperling decide to head for home at 8:30PM. We decided to change our route home and exited I-70 in Mount Comfort, Indiana and took a more scenic route home via US 40. What a great drive with the top down and the ending of a great day! Carson finally fell asleep in the Jeep upon entering Richmond, Indiana. We arrived home tired and worn out at 11:30pm, but it was worth it to be able to spend another day with those amazing campers. We are proud to be members of Indiana Four Wheel Drive Association and Fat Boys Jeepers for all they do for the kids of Camp Riley. We will again make the trek to Bradford Woods in Martinsville, Indiana in 364 days to have fun all over again...and we can't wait!
Additionally, many others donated goods and services to this event including:
Scout Graphics – printing of event shirts.
Doty Graphics – printing of event stickers.
M.C. Marble – Lunch snacks, desserts and bottled water.
MOJO Offroad– hosting of after-party and meal.