LAKEWOOD—Campers from Poyntelle-based Camp Westmont delivered 42 decorated backpacks to the Northern Wayne Community Library earlier this month in their latest iteration of the Backpacks for Success annual donation.

Each year for almost a decade, explained Camp Westmont Associate Director, Scott Freemer, seventh-grade campers collect around 40 backpacks, decorate them, fill them with school supplies, and donate them to the library as part of a community service project.

In groups of three and four, and with a small budget, the campers load the backpacks with pencils, pens, rulers, notebooks, safety scissor and other essentials needed by elementary and middle school children.

Each backpack has a theme to it, such as sports or movies, around which the décor is arranged, said Freemer.

Marge Burden, library director at Northern Wayne Community Library, explained the packs also contain little notes to their recipients wishing them a good year and luck in school.

The library thanked Camp Westmont for the donation with a Facebook announcement on August 13.

“This is a really good thing,” Burden said in a later interview.

Within ten days of announcing the backpacks, most had been given to families in need.

“Everyone that came in was more than appreciative,” said Burden.

As of Friday afternoon, there were seven backpacks remaining at the library.

Information about how to acquire what bags remain is available by calling the library at 570-798-2444.

Backpacks for Success is led by Minna Moskowitz and her family, owners of Camp Westmont, said Freemer.

“It's amazing,” he added, noting this particular donation “always hits home” because everyone, the campers included, knows what it's like to need school supplies.

Additionally, many staff members at Camp Westmont have children in local school districts, said Freemer.

“We're big on giving back,” said Freemer. “It's what we do.”

As part of the Wayne County Camp Alliance, Camp Westmont performs several community service activities and raises money for local organizations such as the Northern Wayne Volunteer Fire Company and Thompson Hose Company, said Freemer.

“Camp Westmont has been more than helpful,” said Burden, noting the service-oriented camp has offered the library many volunteers over the summer, as well as donated books and other items.

More information about Camp Westmont is available online at: www.campwestmont.com.

Upcoming library activities

As schools around the area begin to open their doors for the 2019-2020 school year, the Northern Wayne Community Library gears up for the return of its STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Mathematics) programming and other activities.

Funded in part through Mee Foundation grants, the library's activities this year are themed around “Where the Wild Things Are” and “The Three Little Pigs” with science experiments and other fun experiences inspired by the stories.

For kids under five, activities include this year number birthdays, starting with the number one in September.

Other library activities include monthly movie nights, adult craft experiences, learning resources for child and adult learners, technology access and assistance, and myriad online programs, all accessible with a library card.

“Libraries aren't just about the books anymore,” said Burden. “We consider our library more of a community center.”

Library cards are available from any of the seven libraries within the Wayne Library Alliance. One need only bring identification.

More information about the Northern Wayne Community Library and the other libraries in Wayne County is available online at: www.waynelibraries.org.