City kids @ Summer Camp
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The Butler Mitchell Association has been on the West Side for over 50 years. As a testament to the positive influence that our efforts have had on a tremendous number of kids throughout the years, a very strong organization of alumni evolved. Members of the Butler Mitchell Association are dedicated to providing young inner-city kids with the opportunity to experience the guidance and direction that they may not otherwise have.
During the early 1970s, the Butler Mitchell Alumni Association operated a camp in conjunction with Nick Bonifacio, the director of the Butler Mitchell Boys Club and Joe “Bye”Biondolillio. Nick and Joe always felt that camping was the best learning experience for young men from the Inner-city, giving them the opportunity to enjoy an atmosphere that was far different from the asphalt and influences of the city streets. They also felt it created so many fond memories. How right they were!
Chris DelPrince, a young man who grew up on public assistance during the 1970s, took advantage of the generosity of the Alumni and many local donors, to spend a week at camp each summer. Chris credits his camp experience and his Butler Mitchell families for helping him enjoy great success over the years. As a retail entrepreneur, Chris achieved many honors including National Recognition and was New York State’s Small Business Man of the Year. Chris learned that there was more to the world outside of the streets and negative influences, and acquired much self-esteem. This experience had such a profound effect on him, he vowed to bring back the “Butler Tradition” and to keep Nick’s dream alive. 16 years ago, he started the "City Kids @ Summer Camp Program and has led 1000's of inner-city Kids to the YMCA Camp Weona, along with the City Court Judges, Buffalo Police, Sheriff and Fire personnel who volunteer a week each year. The camp program has had a profound effect and many success stories for our youth. Some of the proof is the fact that many of these professionals have also made a lifetime commitment to come back each and every year for a full week.
As you can see, this has been a lifetime commitment for the Butler Mitchell Association and many others. It is a rarity to ever have the opportunity to make a true “life changing” impact on a city kid’s life. We hope that we can send you more information to better explain this rare but very effective program!
The camp endeavors to teach its participants team building and socialization skills. It provides mentorship from members of the criminal justice system and business community in an informal setting to mitigate the lure of violence and gang involvement. The camp strives to teach its participants discipline, respect, leadership and responsibility in a positive environment. The camp also examines problems with bullying and gives participants guidance and tools to help them handle any situation they may encounter. The campers are drawn from a wide range of cultural, ethnic and racial backgrounds and the camp also serves to foster understanding, communication, respect, and cooperation between these groups. All activities at the camp are instrumental in highlighting aspects of positive self-concept in a supportive environment geared to helping each camper identify his or her personal strengths.
In The News
Winging It! WIVB TV 2012
Chris DelPrince and Nick Bonifacio
Chris DelPrince's mentor who guided
him through his youth during his camp experiences, "If it wasn't for Nick and the camp experience, I don't know where i would be today"! Nick continues his "Hand-On" involvement