A 100-year-old summer camp for children with special needs is getting a new jingle, with help from some friends in the community.
It began as a radio show and blossomed into a special gift for the Rochester Rotary Club’s Sunshine Camp, an inclusive summer camp that includes accommodations for children with special needs.
WHAM TV Anchor Don Alhart, a longtime Rotarian, serves as chairman of the Sunshine Camp’s 100th Anniversary Committee. As a featured guest of the “No-Nonsense Roundtable,” a radio show hosted by Dom Genova that airs Saturdays on WHAM Radio 1180, Alhart often mentioned his work with the Rotary and the Sunshine Camp.
It was after one of these shows that Alhart suggested Genova and his wife visit the camp.
“I’ve had Don on my show a number of times and each time, either off mic or on air, he would tell me about his passion for the Sunshine Camp,” Genova said. “A few months ago he says, why don’t I set up a tour with (Rotary Executive Director) Tracey Driesbach so you can see for yourself?”
Genova and his wife, Nita, joined Driesbach for a tour and the two were blown away, he said.
“We saw personally what Don was talking about,” Genova said. “Being a ‘fella’ with a marketing persuasion, I believed they needed to get the word out and music branding is a great way to do that.”
Genova reached out to Rochester Music Hall of Famer Chuck Brucato, a friend he calls the “Dean of Rochester music branding.” Brucato, who has written jingles for dozens of local businesses including Sea Breeze, Jines and several car dealers, worked with the Rochester Rotary team to come up with something cheerful for the Sunshine Camp. Genova and his wife donated the jingle to the Rotary.
“As Dom learned who benefits from the camp – the families come free of charge – he began to see that everybody needs to know about this,” Driesbach said. “He really thought the jingle would be a great way for us to do that.”
Driesbach worked closely with Brucato to come up with a jingle that was upbeat and catchy like the rest of his work.
“When I hear this jingle I picture kids sitting around a campfire eating s’mores,” Alhart said.
Brucato said he had fun working on the project with all those involved.
“I’m a very fortunate man. I have a beautiful son, a beautiful daughter and an incredibly beautiful grandson,” Brucato said. “To be able to do something for children who are less fortunate than my family is incredibly heartfelt for me. And for Dom and Don Alhart and Tracey and a bunch of people who put this thing together to have more people aware of what an incredible organization the Sunshine Camp is, means a lot to me.”
The jingle, which features children singing the chorus, was featured on the July 20 “Bright Spot” during WHAM-TV’s 6 p.m. news show.
The Sunshine Camp was founded at Durand Eastman Park in 1922 and moved to Rush in the 1970s. The camp is free to families and each summer hosts some 2,500 children. To mark its centennial, the Rotary is hosting a number of events over the next 12 months.
“When you plant a seed you don’t necessarily see the tree grow,” Alhart said of Genova’s involvement in getting the jingle made. “That’s what he’s done. We just appreciate his kindness, thoughtfulness and genuine interest.”
To watch Don Alhart’s “Bright Spot,” go to https://13wham.com/features/bright-spot/bright-spot-07-20-2022.
To learn more about the “No-Nonsense Roundtable,” visit wwww.NoNonsenseRoundtable.com.