WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — A Cape Fear businessman is giving back to the community in a big way. With his help, a group of kids in Wilmington receive the summer camp experience of a lifetime — all the way in Canada.
“It was a lot of things I haven’t experienced, like flying and swimming in a lake with currents,” said Hoggard highschooler Zire Hansley. For him, a trip to Camp Schreiber was an experience of many firsts.
“My first year was kind of challenging, just adapting to the new surroundings,” Hansley said.
Camp Schreiber founder John Monteith started the camp, which is on a rural tract of land on a lake in Canada, to expand the horizons of young men across North Carolina.
“There are so many great ways to do things like this in our community, and this is just an opportunity that we had,” Monteith said.
Not only do they go to camp, but the students are also provided with tutors during the other 51 weeks of the year.
“We’re very serious about our responsibility to them, but they have to drive it. They drive it, and we’re simply moving obstacles and giving them support,” Monteith said.
Executive Director Meagan Verdi says Camp Schreiber’s goal is to encourage the boys to one day give back to their community. She said they aspire for each of the boys to become college-educated leaders within their communities.
Verdi said the 13 boys in the program, as well their parents, go through an application process to receive their spots. Once in the program, the boys gain another family and keep their spot in the program through college.
“Because we’re so family-oriented, whenever they become a part of this program, they gain all these other brothers who have the same goals as them.”
Zire said that year-round support has helped relieve the stresses of high school.
“It’s increased my willingness to strive towards success and achieve my dreams,” he said.
For Monteith, the reward is priceless.
“You go into these things thinking you’re going to do something good for someone else, and what you don’t see coming is the reward that comes back, and that is unpredictable, but it’s the best part of it,” Monteith said.
Monteith hopes to expand the program in the future and possibly add a girls program.