The big pool is the most popular facility at Cradle Beach Camp.
For many, the pool is an equalizer. Some who can't walk or see can swim, splash and smile just like the other children. It's where boys and girls who cannot swim on the first day of camp will be seen paddling around on their own by the fifth or sixth day.
"Hey, Mike, look. I can swim."
Such jubilant shouts have been heard many times since the Cradle Beach Camp pool opened in 1971. It will be heard again next July and August when another 800 or so selected boys and girls are invited to the camp off Old Lake Road near Angola for their nearly two-week Cradle Beach experience.
The invitation to Cradle Beach is made possible by holiday-time gifts of Western New Yorkers. For the 45th time, readers are invited to help send deserving youngster to camp by contributing to the Buffalo News-Rotary Club Crippled Children's Camp Fund. The fund now totals $14,435.87.
Additional gifts may be mailed to The Buffalo News Charity Fund, Box 100, Buffalo 14240. Gifts will be acknowledged.
At Cradle Beach, the campers, the counselors and the staff need each other, and what they develop during their 12 camp days has come to be known as the Cradle Beach spirit. And it spills over to the fund donors.
"It always gives us pleasure to begin our Christmas season with our annual donation to Cradle Beach," Mrs. Donald P. Hoppe of Hamburg wrote. "This is one charity that returns a full share to the children of our community."
A Grand island woman who suggests that she has a "lifestyle of the rushed and frazzled" found time to send a donation.
Sam and Matilda Eppolito of Eden sent a check to the camp fund. The gift from Donald and Irene Hagner of Kenmore was in thanks for six healthy grandchildren.
In addition to their annual Sunshine Day party, Rotarians from seven South Towns Rotary Clubs donated cash. Local 986 of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers is among this year's contributors.
A list of today's acknowledged gifts appears on Page C4.