Many people know the story of Ray Ewry.
Born in Lafayette in 1872, he was stricken with polio as a child and told by his doctor that he would never walk again. Through sheer determination, Ray Ewry re-learned to walk, run and jump – then went on to win 10 gold medals in Olympic jumping events between 1900 and 1910.
What many people don’t know is that Ray Ewry was also a renowned engineer.
He earned both a bachelor’s and Master’s degree from Purdue University in mechanical engineering. He taught engineering at both Purdue and the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York. He inspected newly built ships for the US navy in New Jersey.
But perhaps Ray Ewry’s crowning professional achievement was as lead engineer for the New York City Board of Water Supply where he helped build the 163 mile-long aqueduct system that to this day brings fresh water from the Catskill Mountains to New York City. If you visit Manhattan and drink a glass of water with your meal or take a shower in your hotel room – you have Ray Ewry to thank.
I share this with you for two reasons: First of all, because Ray Ewry is a hero to the children served by the Lafayette Urban Ministry. LUM’s Youth Center bears his name and his picture hangs prominently on its wall. The children at LUM know how Ray Ewry overcame one adversity after another to achieve greatness. We talk about him all the time.
The other reason is because planning for LUM Camp 2013 has begun – and this year’s theme is “The Excitement of Engineering!” Along with introducing our campers to various engineering disciplines, we will also lift up Ray Ewry’s life-long dedication and commitment to learning.
LUM Camp includes all the things a great summer camp should: morning chapel, silly camp songs, outstanding camp counselors, swimming, hiking, arts and crafts, campfires, sleeping in cabins and plenty of great camp food!
But along with these, each day at LUM Camp this year will focus on a different field of engineering. The children will see Rube Goldberg contraptions, watch fun chemistry experiments, exercise their problem solving skills, work as a team to build a Lego car, ride on the Boilermaker Special – and even blast off on an imaginary adventure to outer space. Some of the finest educators from Purdue will be on hand to help.
Because of the financial limitations of our campers’ families, paying for a week of summer camp just isn’t in the cards. That’s why LUM seeks out the support of individuals, churches and local organizations to enable the children to attend our camp.
A $140 campership will pay for the cost of transportation, room and board, camp activities, educational programs and supplies – everything a child will need to attend LUM Camp.
- $280 will allow 2 children to attend
- $420 will send 3 children
- $70 will cover ½ of a campership
Any amount you send will help a child to attend one of the finest overnight summer camp programs available in Indiana.
And this year we will reintroduce the children to Ray Ewry: hometown hero, Olympian – and renowned engineer. It’s not just that we hope the children will model Ewry’s character and determination, but that Ray Ewry’s story will encourage our LUM Campers to think about their futures in new ways.
It’s a safe bet that none of our LUM Campers will go on to win 10 Olympic Gold medals – but each can overcome personal adversity to accomplish great things for the world.
It’s a safer bet that most of the children who come to LUM Camp this year will think an engineer is someone who operates a locomotive – but each will return home with a greater understanding and perhaps even a desire to someday become an engineer.
Most of our campers will never have dreamed about a Purdue education – but they will leave LUM Camp knowing that higher education is a dream within their reach!
LUM Camp changes lives. It will take place during the week of July 29th at beautiful Hanging Rock Camp in Warren County. I know of 100 children who will grow and benefit immeasurably if they are given the chance to attend.
Please, may we hear from you today?