Rutland's Italian-American community has a big heart- the city's Italian-American Club hosted a successful Camp Ta-Kum-Ta fundraising event recently.
Gary and Eileen Lazetera started organizing benefits for Camp Ta-Kum-Ta back in 1992; it has grown to become a family affair and now includes the Lazetera's son Andrew.
The big annual dinner at the Italian-American Club raised over $2,400 this year. During the past 18 years, club members have raised close to $140,000 for the camp. Gary Lazetera started one year after his brother's battle against cancer ended in 1991.
The next area camp benefit is scheduled for Oct. 18 at the 18th Annual Camp T-K-T Golf Tournament being held at Woodstock Country Club.
Teams and sponsors are welcome to participate by contacting the Lazeteras.
Each four person team that participates will include golf, golf cart, raffles, prizes and a complete dinner.
For more than two decades Camp Ta-Kum-Ta has provided a safe, loving place where children from Vermont and New York who have, or have had cancer can play, swim, share, and heal. In short, Camp T-K-T is where kids go to reclaim a childhood robbed by cancer.
For 24 years Ta-Kum-Ta has operated as a one-week program, leasing the old Camp Holy Cross on Malletts Bay in Colchester. In 2008, facing an economic crisis, the owners of Holy Cross decided they could no longer support children's programming-the search for Ta-Kum-Ta's future began.
Ta-Kum-Ta's new home sits atop a hill on the scenic Lake Champlain island of South Hero.
With ample room to grow, the new Camp T-K-T offers the opportunity for expanded programs that include the Winter Adventure Camp, Family and Sibling Camp, Bereavement Camp, Youth Leadership Development as well as activities for children facing life-threatening illnesses.
Camp Ta-Kum-Ta is blessed with a beautiful parcel of land and a lodge housing office, kitchen, and medical facilities. Future plans include handicap-accessible cabins, pond, splash-pad, arts and crafts, activities, security, and chapel buildings.
To learn more, visit the camp's website at www.camptakumta.org or call the Lazeteras at 775-3735.