Tomorrow, much more than a softball game will take place out back of Seymour High School on the diamond.
For the past two years, the Seymour Softball Parents Club has put on a benefit game in memory of Nick Personett.
Personett was a Seymour student with cerebral palsy.
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During September of his junior year in 2004, Personett, born a premature twin, passed away at 17.
Throughout the Owls’ junior varsity and varsity games Saturday against visiting Jeffersonville, starting at 11 a.m., a silent auction and lunch will be conducted to raise funds for Camp Riley.
Camp Riley, located near Martinsville in the Bradford Woods, “lets children with physical disabilities experience life without limits, and adventures that help them build confidence and friendships.”
Every summer, Personett would attend Camp Riley — one of his favorite events of the year.
At Seymour, Personett was also very active in the Key Club and Spanish club during his time in high school.
The camp, for kids ages 8 to 18, offers a fun, safe environment for children with disabilities.
“Camp Riley is a therapeutic camp for kids with disabilities,” said Deena Personett, Nick’s’ mother. “It’s pretty much maintained by Indiana University. It’s an absolutely amazing camp. During the summer, their main camp is for kids with disabilities. All the counselors are college students who are going into medical fields, education or recreational professions. Kids come from all over the country. It has a total infirmary with doctors and nurses. On major medications.
“Nick was a camper for nine years and absolutely loved it. He liked the pontoon boat and hiking. He was wheelchair bound and loved going on the trails. He also enjoyed doing the horseback riding.”
All monies raised during tomorrow’s events at the softball game will go towards “camperships” for local kids wanting to attend Camp Riley this upcoming summer.
“It’s very expensive, it’s around $800 for one week or $1,600 for two weeks — it isn’t an easy feat,” Deena said. “All the money raised goes towards the camperships. The Riley Foundation takes no money for administrative purposes. I think that’s a really cool thing about it.”
Prior to having Nick, Deena’s sorority ESA was very involved in raising funds for Camp Riley.
“We first got involved through ESA, my sorority, and it has been our state project for over the past 50 years,” Deena said. “All our funding goes to the camp. Little did Greg (Deena’s husband) and I know we would be blessed with a child who had a disability and that would one day be a camper.”
Since the passing of their son, Greg and Deena have stayed active in helping kids get to Camp Riley through hosting a golf charity tournament at the end of April and working with the Kiwanis Club selling roses on Mother’s Day.
“We help send local kids to camp, In the past we have sent anywhere from one to five,” Deena said. “He was a huge, avid camper. They do everything. They teach them everything: scuba diving, horseback riding, fishing, rock climbing — anything and more than things that any able-bodied child could do. They adapt for these kids.”
Nick’s uncle, Brian Personett, is the Owls’ softball coach. Brian thought it was a great opportunity to get his girls involved in the community for a great cause.
“It would be our goal that other kids with disabilities could have that same experience,” Deena said. “We feel very fortunate to have done that for nine years. We’re blessed. It keeps his memory alive.”
Food will be available throughout the games at the softball field, and a silent auction will take place beginning at 12:30 p.m. until the end of the JV contest.
Meal combinations for sale containing a hamburger, cheeseburger or hotdog include chips, cookie and a drink for $5.
Baskets for auction have been put together by merchants in Seymour and the surrounding area.
Registration for this year’s Camp Riley is currently open and can be accessed on the foundation’s website.
If you need more information, help getting funds, or would like to discuss the camp with Greg or Deena, they said they can be reached at 812-569-2598.