Camp Taylor, a camp for young people and families of children with heart disease, has grown exponentially since its founding in 2002. Much of that growth has happened in the past three years, not coincidentally following the surge of success of its most famous advocate—San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick.
Like Kaepernick, Camp Taylor’s growth and success is expected to continue far into the future. While these future expectations are exciting, they will also come with a monetary cost to match.
Thankfully for Camp Taylor and its kids, Kaepernick’s support extends beyond solidarity alone. It’s an active support which has taken form in his annual Against All Odds Golf Tournament, the second of which took place at the Del Rio Country Club in Modesto on Monday.
“They’re able to have more camps, so more kids are able to come to camp and get attention and be around other kids that have, I don’t even want to say defect, but who are going through the same things as them,” Kaepernick said of the event’s impact on Camp Taylor.
In addition to increased participation numbers, auction items, and a new sponsor in EA Sports, the second annual Against All Odds Golf Tournament also welcomed another celebrity supporter in Kaepernick’s San Francisco teammate Bruce Miller.
“I wanted to come and show my support,” Miller said. “I would say the best part for me was standing back and watching their faces, their smiles, when Colin walked up, or catching a pass or throwing a football with him. It was special.”
Kaepernick is essentially the face of Camp Taylor, not only helping to bring awareness and funds to the camp, but also playing a hands-on role with the kids themselves. As the kids surrounded him and spoke to him on Monday, it was easy to see the joy on the face of Kaepernick which was radiated by an almost constant smile.
“I think my first year there when I got to spend time with the kids and really be around them was when I learned how much it meant to them. I think that changed my whole outlook on how special these kids really are,” Kaepernick said. “I actually feel like I learn more from them. Just being around them and kind of seeing how they interact with each other and how they deal with different situations, and talking with them about what they go through. I mean I try to share as much as I can, but ultimately I haven’t been through things that they have. For me, I try to support them as much as I can and show them that they’re great kids.”
While past fundraisers have focused on providing more camping opportunities for more kids, this year’s tournament had the aim of providing a permanent camp ground for future campers. In the past Camp Taylor has been held in several locations such as California State University, Stanislaus, but director Kimberly Gamino and her staff are currently seeking a 10 to 20 acre plot of land in the greater Modesto area.