Kiwanis Camp Casey, a Whidbey Island-based summer camp for kids with physical disabilities, is something special. The camp is staffed and run by volunteers who meet once a year to give kids “the best week of the year,” free of charge, at Fort Casey state Park.
That’s why West Seattle’s India Gants, a Camp Casey counselor turned America’s Next Top Model contestant, thinks it’s worth throwing her star power behind.
“When I was 16 I wanted to do a camp and be a counselor,” Gant says. “I was searching for a camp I could do at 16, and Camp Casey was one I found by accident – they allowed for counselors to be 16, I did it on a whim, and six years later they’re my second home.”
On February 26th Gants will host Casey Catwalk, a fashion show at The Landing at Tyee on Lake Union. The event features campers as models – along with a few of Gant’s fellow ANTM alums – and features a raffle, a beer and wine bar, and t-shirt sales. All the proceeds from the event will go back to the camp she’s been working at as a counselor since she was 16. Tickets range from $60-75.
“I couldn’t do camp this year because of the show, so I wanted to make sure I was still involved,” she explains. “I’m hoping I’ll be able to donate at least $10,000. It’s an added bonus – camp stays the same very year, but extra money helps them bring in a special guest or go on a field trip, and that makes it extra special for the kids.”
And the kids aren’t the only once who benefit – Gants says the volunteers take away a special feeling too. It’s been the best,” she says. “You arrive at camp and everyone is maybe a little different from each other, but they’re all accepted and treated the same. A disability doesn’t make anyone think twice, and that makes it a happy place for everyone.”