Middle Atlantic PGA Professionals Give Their Time For Special Love's Camp Fantastic
Stafford, Va. - For over 20 years, Middle Atlantic PGA (MAPGA) Professionals have volunteered their time as golf instructors at the week-long Camp Fantastic in Front Royal, Va. Established in 1983, Camp Fantastic was a gift to cancer families from Tom and Sheila Baker of Winchester, Va. who sadly lost their daughter to cancer. Camp Fantastic propelled the Bakers to start a non-profit organization called Special Love that now provides year-round activities for cancer patients and their families.
Each year in August over 100 youngsters descend on the Northern Virginia 4-H Center in Front Royal, Va. to take a "step back from the seriousness of their disease and enjoy normal childhood activities." One of the activities includes a golf class on the 4-H practice field which was presented this year by Glenn Payne, PGA of Front Royal, Va.; Chris Hall, PGA of Haymarket, Va.; Stephanie Jennings, PGA of Stafford, Va.; and Brian Zeemer, PGA Apprentice also of Front Royal, Va. Using SNAG Golf's "near-golf" equipment, 18 campers spent 60 minutes outside on a beautiful summer day hitting shots from a SNAG tee into the soccer field and also rolling shots on the basketball court to the SNAG targets.
"Helping at Camp Fantastic really puts life into perspective," says Hall. "You know the campers are suffering from this awful disease, yet during the golf session, you would think that they're 100% healthy and living a normal life; this is the greatness of Camp Fantastic." As a great example, one camper, Jake, whose mobility is mostly confined to a wheel chair, was so excited to hit golf balls that he claimed the first hitting station and swung away for almost 30 minutes straight.
Special Love's CEO Dave Smith has been a part of Camp Fantastic from the very beginning starting as a 4-H Counselor and then transitioning to CEO for Special Love in 1987. Commenting on the golf class and its nearly 20 years of existence, Smith adds "We are very fortunate to have the support of local PGA Professionals and the Middle Atlantic PGA Section; the class has grown each year and it's another great opportunity for the campers to be outside, enjoying life." Smith and his staff at Special Love have worked with PGA Life Member Rick Miller of Winchester, Va. over the years to ensure that Camp Fantastic's golf class continues to be a part of the curriculum.
About the Middle Atlantic Section of the PGA of America
The Middle Atlantic Section of the PGA (MAPGA), located in Stafford, Virginia, is one of 41 Sections of The Professional Golfers' Association of America (PGA), headquartered in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida. As a part of The PGA since 1925, the MAPGA consists of over 1,100 members and apprentices in Maryland, Virginia, the District of Columbia and small portions of Pennsylvania and West Virginia. Together, the MAPGA golf professionals, volunteers and staff support the mission of The PGA to promote enjoyment and involvement in the game of golf and to contribute to the game's growth by providing services to PGA Professionals and the golf industry.