Lack of funds shouldn't keep Gahanna children from summer camp or swimming lessons.

Lack of funds shouldn't keep Gahanna children from summer camp or swimming lessons.

Through the Gahanna Parks & Recreation Foundation, $5,000 for scholarships is available for Camp Friendship held in Gahanna June 11-Aug. 17.

The funds are available for families in need for camp and parks and recreation programs until the money is depleted, Gahanna parks and recreation director Tony Collins said.

Foundation chairman Lee Tucker provided a report on the funds to Gahanna City Council on March 19.

"We recognize through tough times, families will benefit from this (scholarship)," he said. "People can sign up for scholarships now for this summer."

The foundation provided $3,623 in scholarships in 2011, Tucker said.

Scholarships can help make camp more accessible by partially covering the cost of up to two weeks of camp for Gahanna residents who qualify, Collins said.

Families who qualify for the free-and-reduced school lunch program are eligible for the scholarships.

Those who receive reduced-price lunches qualify to have half of the camp fees covered, while those on the free-lunch program can have 75 percent of camp fees covered.

Scholarships are awarded on a first-come, first-served basis.

Tucker also discussed the foundation's work with the Gahanna Lions, Jaycees, rotary and YMCA for future Freedom Festivals.

"The USO will be involved again this year," he said. "'Welcome Home' will be the theme." Tucker credited Scott McComb, Heartland Bank president and CEO, for support of the 2011 Freedom Festival. He also committed to helping the festival in the future.

"We're proud to know Scott and he helped make it work," Tucker said.

This year over $20,000 has been committed through the foundation to go back into the community for public art, scholarships and other endeavors, Tucker said.

According to Tucker, Blacklick artist Steve Bush will build a piece of art that will be designed by Gahanna school students.

Bush was commissioned by the foundation's art committee last year to create the first public sculpture now on display at Creekside.

The Gahanna Parks & Recreation Foundation was established in 2008 to help improve the quality of parks and recreation services for a healthier community, Tucker said.

Led by a board of committed volunteers, the foundation provides financial support for a variety of initiatives including youth program scholarships, program endowments and parks facility improvements.

Since 2009, the foundation has awarded over 78 scholarships, saved the 2011 Freedom Festival and installed the first piece of public art.

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