From the solemnity of the Veterans Day and Gold Star ceremonies to the pageantry of the Garrison and Retreat parades, Culver Academies and Culver Summer Schools & Camps have always valued and honored the service and sacrifice of our military personnel.
And, while it isn’t as visible, the Culver Supporting Our Troops program is one of the strongest commitments. Now in its fifth year, the scholarship program is hosting 14 children of active-duty soldiers and wounded veterans during this six-week camp session.
Culver works with several military support organizations, including the Wounded Warrior Project, the Navy SEAL Foundation, the Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society, the Combat Casualty Assistance Visiting Nurse Program, and the Yellow Ribbon Fund, to select the campers, Culver’s Chief International Officer Tony Giraldi ’75 said.
The military parents are making a sacrifice, and the children are making an emotional sacrifice.
The concept evolved from a 2010 dinner conversation among Giraldi and Oklahoma alumni Jud Little ’65 and Whitney Kolb Alvis ’96. Little and Alvis have been active supporters of Culver. Both are past presidents of The Culver Legion and now serve on The Culver Educational Foundation’s Board of Trustees. Little was just honored as the 2015 Graduate of the Year in May.
Because the deployment of a parent to a combat area can be so difficult on a family, the program is a way of saying “thank you” for their sacrifices. “The military parents are making a sacrifice, and the children are making an emotional sacrifice,” Giraldi explained.
The first Summer Schools & Camps scholarships were given out in 2011. Funding for the program primarily comes from alumni, current and past parents, and friends of Culver. Anyone can donate to Culver Supporting Our Troops, which is part of The Culver Fund, Giraldi explained. And the more donations received means more children will benefit.
And the military families aren’t the only ones benefiting from the program, Giraldi said, calling Culver Supporting Our Troops “one of the most satisfying things I have ever done.”