Children’s charity seeks furniture industry support

Program would help Victory Junction Gang Camp

Pattie Petty leads a tour of the Victory Junction Gang Camp for Tom Mitchell, International Home Furnishings Center; Ray Wagner, Furniture Junction; and Ray Steele, Ultimate Accents. 

The Victory Junction Gang Camp, open to chronically or seriously ill children, has everything a kid could want for a getaway.

For many who come here during one of the camp’s summer sessions, it will be the first or only time they can appear on stage, go swimming or ride a horse.

But the nonprofit facility could use more financial backing, according to its supporters. There’s an average cost of $2,500 to attend, even though all kids who come to Victory Junction do so for free.

Ray Steele, vice president of sales for Ultimate Accents, is starting to organize a program that would accept samples of furniture shown at the nearby High Point Market for a regular charity auction to raise money for the camp. The program could be in place by March, he said.

Companies would get the benefit of making a donation without having to lay out cash, he added.

“It’s a win-win for everyone involved, but it’s the biggest win for the kids,” Steele said.

Ideas that have also been considered to spread the word about the Victory Junction Gang Camp are tours of the facilities during market or a dinner for market exhibitors at the camp.

Located 20 minutes from High Point, the camp has a life-size maze that gets changed every night, a bowling alley, a movie theater and stage, a ranch and a swimming pool adventure course. It has 57 buildings on a 90-acre campus, including a dining area capable of feeding 390 people.

Summer sessions can serve up to 129 campers per session. On family weekends, as many as 32 families attend.

Victory Junction has become a centerpiece for donations from NASCAR’s elite. Many facilities at the camp are named for racers or owners such as Tony Stewart, Jimmie Johnson and Rick Hendrick. It also has received corporate donations from companies such as Harris-Teeter, Bass Pro Shops and GlaxoSmthKline’s Goody’s Powder.

Auto racer Kyle Petty and his wife, Pattie, partnered with actor Paul Newman to launch the camp in honor of the Pettys’ son, Adam, who died in 2000 during practice for a NASCAR race.

Pattie Petty said the camp is for ill children who are at a point that they could use a week off.

Children who attend the camp are selected through 28 partnering hospitals and through Shriners Hospitals for Children, she said. Victory Junction recruiters determine whether children are well enough to attend, and the camp takes care of their medical needs during their stays.

To make sure the kids all feel equal, every camper gets the same gear needed for the camp, contained in a trunk-sized “toolbox” by each bed.

In addition, workers and volunteers at the camp are trained to know children’s needs based on their medical conditions. For example, kids with sickle cell anemia must maintain their bodies at a constant temperature, so the staff will regulate the swimming pool temperature accordingly.


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