Lions Club members conduct workday at Camp Ho Mita Koda in Newbury Township – News-Herald

Camp Ho Mita Koda is known as a place where children with Type 1 diabetes engage in fun outdoor activities, such as hiking, canoeing and swimming.

But a group of visitors who came to the camp in Newbury Township on May 14 found enjoyment by working.

Lions Club members from throughout Northeast Ohio united on May 14 to upgrade cabins and perform other maintenance and repair projects at Camp Ho Mita Koda, which is located at 14040 Auburn Road.

Jack Becka, left, and Ernie Richmann, both members of the Painesville Lions Club, construct a new set of steps for a building at Camp Ho Mita Koda on May 14. Becka and Richmann were participating in a workday at the camp conducted by Lions Club OH District 4. The district consists of Lions Clubs in nine Northeast Ohio counties, including Lake and Geauga. Camp Ho Mita Koda, established more than 90 years ago, serves children with Type 1 diabetes. Since diabetes is one of the Lions Club’s global causes, Northeast Ohio members of the organization have contributed their time and talents over the years to hold workdays at Camp Ho Mita Koda. (Bill DeBus – The News-Herald)

The camp, established more than 90 years ago, serves children with Type 1 diabetes. Type 1 diabetes is a chronic condition in which the pancreas produces little or no insulin, according to the Mayo Clinic. Insulin is a hormone needed to allow glucose — or simple sugar — to enter cells to produce energy.

With diabetes being one of the Lions Club’s global causes, Northeast Ohio members of the organization have contributed their time and talents over the years to conduct workdays at Camp Ho Mita Koda. Previous projects have included planting trees, updating lighting in the dining hall, and cutting and stacking wood for the camp fire ring.

Recently, Lions Club International Foundation also awarded Lions OH District 4 — which includes Lake and Geauga counties — a $60,000 diabetes grant to renovate 12 cabins at Camp Ho Mita Koda. The cabins needed new roofs, new wiring, insulation, fans, doors, and interior siding.

At the May 14 workday, event organizer Ernie Richmann said he anticipated that about 25 Lions Club members would be participating.

“I’m very grateful for anybody that shows up and helps,” said Richmann, a member of the Painesville Lions Club and OH District 4 diabetes chairman. “The Lions, our motto is ‘We serve.’ So that’s what we’re doing.”

A whiteboard lists some of the tasks which the Lions Club had hoped to complete during a May 14 workday at Camp Ho Mita Koda in Newbury Township.  The event was conducted by Lions Club OH District 4. The district consists of Lions Clubs in nine Northeast Ohio counties, including Lake and Geauga.  Camp Ho Mita Koda, established more than 90 years ago, serves children with Type 1 diabetes.  Since diabetes is one of the Lions Club's global causes, Northeast Ohio members of the organization have contributed their time and talents over the years to hold workdays at Camp Ho Mita Koda.  (Bill DeBus - The News-Herald)
A whiteboard lists some of the tasks which the Lions Club had hoped to complete during a May 14 workday at Camp Ho Mita Koda in Newbury Township. The event was conducted by Lions Club OH District 4. The district consists of Lions Clubs in nine Northeast Ohio counties, including Lake and Geauga. Camp Ho Mita Koda, established more than 90 years ago, serves children with Type 1 diabetes. Since diabetes is one of the Lions Club’s global causes, Northeast Ohio members of the organization have contributed their time and talents over the years to hold workdays at Camp Ho Mita Koda. (Bill DeBus – The News-Herald)

Volunteers at the workday included Lions Club members from clubs in the organization’s OH District 4, which consists of seven other counties besides Lake and Geauga.

Steve Hardesty of the Kent Lions Club was painting the exterior of a cabin during the first hour of the workday, which began at 9 am

Hardesty said he learned about the workday when Richmann spoke at a lunch meeting of the Kent Lions Club.

“This is actually my third time out here (at Camp Ho Mita Koda),” Hardesty said. “I’m retired and I just like helping people out, so that’s what I do.”

Jack Becka, a Painesville Lions Club member, was teaming up with Richmann at the workday to build new sets of steps for some of the buildings at Camp Ho Mita Koda.

“The Lions is always about service,” Becka said. “It’s a great day to be outside and help the kids.”

Other tasks which the Lions Club hoped to complete at the May 14 workday included drywalling, fixing cabin doors, pressure-washing the basketball court, cleaning windows and pulling weeds.

The projects accomplished by Lions members on May 14 will play a pivotal role in getting Camp Ho Mita Koda in prime condition for its upcoming summer season. That’s according to Ian Roberts, the camp’s executive director.

“Camp is right around the corner and we had a pretty brutal winter this year,” he said. “The work that will be accomplished this weekend will allow us to move right into the summer season with a huge load off of our backs.”

Roberts added that working with Painesville Lions Club and the organization’s OH District 4 on various projects over the years “has been a great privilege.”

“Without their ongoing support, the camp would not be in the position that we are in today,” he said.

Founded in 1929, Camp Ho Mita Koda is the oldest camp for children with diabetes in the United States.

Activities offered for campers include, rock climbing, kayaking, swimming, archery, paintball, diabetes education, high/low ropes challenge course, canoeing, arts and crafts, hiking and team sports.

“Surrounded by friends and a well-trained staff, every camper learns to ‘stretch’… physically, mentally, emotionally and socially,” the Camp Ho Mita Koda Foundation stated in an information sheet. “Self-assured in these new skills, campers come away with a strong foundation for life, increased capabilities, newfound independence, and understanding of their ever-changing personal Type 1 diabetes journey.”

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