Wekeela Campers Do Amazing Things; Change by Eli Lapkin

   Camp News

There are incredible and amazing campers that come to Camp Wekeela every summer. From riding a bus or car into the magical campgrounds of Camp Wekeela, our  campers are enshrined with care for each other and the world at large. Wekeela’s foundation and responsibility on gratitude makes our campers incredible and the lessons they learn at camp help them to become better people.

Since 2016, Camp Wekeela has been one of the original camp partners with World of Change, a Maine-based non-profit focused on childhood causes. One of our former campers, Eli Lapkin, now a Freshman at Vanderbilt University, was inspired by World of Change’s mission upon meeting the founder, Matt Hoidal during Visitor’s Day. Eli’s dedication to the greater good helped him create change throughout Wekeela and his community at home!

Change by Eli Lapkin 

“Outside of the new dining hall, a brightly-colored blue and orange 55-gallon barrel immediately piqued my interest. It was Wekeela visiting day 2017, and kids and parents were eagerly dropping coins into the barrel. A sign read “World of Change” and I soon learned that this non-profit’s goal was to engage youth in philanthropy by converting loose change to social change.

“Every penny counts,” we have heard time and time again, but how true is that really? According to World of Change, it’s extremely accurate. There is an estimated $10 billion in pocket change in American households alone. $10 billion. If every person in the United States donated just one penny, we would raise over $3 million. Now imagine the untapped potential that lies in collecting all of the loose change that fills couches and pockets across the country.

Inspired by this mission, I left Wekeela that summer knowing I wanted to get involved. After reaching out to Matt Hoidal, the Chief Change Maker of World of Change, we collaborated to bring World of Change to the schools in my community. The model is simple: place mason jars in every classroom of a school, give small coin pouches to every student, and let the kids work their magic. At our first school in New York, I was astounded to see jars overflowing with coins and cash, piled high to the ceiling in the principal’s office. In just two weeks, this small elementary school had raised over $1,000 from loose change. We expanded the program, with each school doing better than the last. One school raised nearly $2,000 in four weeks; the next raised over $2,000 in two.

To date, World of Change has expanded far past its roots in Maine and is now in over 65 schools and camps in 9 states. Now a youth ambassador for World of Change, my goal is to inspire kids (and adults) to realize that every small action can make a huge impact in the world. From that one summer day at Wekeela to my hometown and beyond, World of Change has shown me the power of a single penny.

If you are interested in getting involved with World of Change or have any questions, feel free to reach out to me at eli.f.lapkin@vanderbilt.edu or Matt Hoidal at mhoidal@worldofchange.world. For general information, you can also visit www.worldofchange.world.”