CAMDEN — The Camden-Somers Township Fire and EMS Association held its annual Back to School Sunday Funday on Sunday, Aug. 15.
“We try to do this every year the Sunday before school starts,” EMS Coordinator Stephanie Forrer said.
The event was sponsored by the Camden Comeback Committee, the Camden Police Department, and community donations, according to Forrer, and included hot dogs, bounce houses, popcorn, and a snow cone machine, as well as approximately $300 in free school supplies given away to local children.
“Folders, binders, backpacks, lunch boxes – it’s a little bit of everything,” Forrer said.
The supplies were donated by the Little Shoppe of Sharing, a local nonprofit which provides community members with clothing and household items and holds its own Back to School event each year.
The Fire and EMS Association began holding the Sunday Funday event “at least five years ago,” according to Forrer and President Melissa Rodriguez.
“It’s just something we try to do for the kids, to give back to the community,” Forrer said. “We try to be a part of anything and everything that’s going on in the community, whether it’s at the school, or the Black Walnut Festival.”
The Association had to skip last year’s event due to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Rodriguez.
“It was sad, but it was appropriate not to have it,” Rodriguez said. “It would’ve been very hard to do with all the restrictions and social distancing guidelines, so we felt it was better to be on the safe side,” to which Forrer agreed.
“We’re all about safety, for sure,” she said.
The event was Forrer’s brainchild. She said her favorite part of participating in Sunday Funday was interacting with the community’s children.
“Just having the kids down here, having their families, and just seeing the kids have fun and seeing the smiles on their faces,” Forrer said.
Rodriguez expressed similar sentiments, and said it’s important for Fire and EMS workers to establish a relationship with the people they serve.
“We have to know our community to be able to serve them correctly,” Rodriguez said. “I like learning about them and building some kind of rapport with them, so that people are comfortable with us, and not just seeing us for the first time in an emergency.”
Forrer also stressed the importance of building relationships with residents.
“We always try to take care of our community and the needs of our community,” she said. “Whether they need 911 or a fire truck or an ambulance, we’re always there when they need us.”
Reach Anthony Baker at 937-683-4057 or on Facebook @mproperenglish