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Free summer camp for superstorm Sandy victims

ALBANY -- Camp owners announced Tuesday they are providing free summer placements in New York and New Jersey to hundreds of children impacted by superstorm Sandy.

Through a program called "Heal the Children," the American Camp Association New York & New Jersey, said it will provide a tuition-free camp experience to children whose families qualify. Eligible families must have a combined income of $90,000 or less, must have lost their primary residence for 90 days or more and have lost half their income for three months.

State Senate and Assembly leaders are joining with camp owners and directors to get the word out.

"Providing children with the opportunity to attend summer camp -- a place where they can forget their worries and just be kids -- is one of the best ways to help them heal after the devastation caused by Sandy," said Senate co-leader Dean Skelos (R-Rockville Centre).

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver (D-Manhattan) noted the camp group provided a similar program after Sept. 11, 2001. He said the initiative will "give distressed and displaced children a summer they can look forward to."

Interested families are encouraged to contact the American Camp Association at 212-391-5208. The group says it will match eligible children with a "camp that can provide the best experience," whether those are overnight or day-use facilities. Length of stays may vary.

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