For many years now, since 2005, Amy Delmege has crafted a special gift to all campers attending Camp Wonder. A pillow duck!
I interviewed Amy this year at camp asking her how she got the idea and how she accomplishes this monumental task. She is paying it forward!
Please Note: Campers usually need to bring their own sheets/blankets/pillows to camp
How did you get the idea for the ducks?
I was at one of the camps (Painted Turtle) in 2004 and they had lap quilts on the beds that each camper could bring home. One the local Sewing Guilds had made them and they were really cute. I liked them but I had no idea how to make quilts. I started thinking about it and I noticed that all except for 3 campers forgot pillows that year, and I thought maybe I should make pillows, only, I thought it was maybe too easy. I didn’t know how to sew and I wanted something more complicated. Ha Ha.
I saw the duck logo of Camp Wonder and I picked a diet Coke box and I wanted to make a pattern for a duck. I called a girlfriend of mine, who is a seamstress, and asked her if I was doing it right and she altered it a little for me and asked me when it was due and I told her… ohhhh… a month!! That first year I made 150 ducks not even knowing how to sew so I had to learn very quickly! I used to make my son’s costumes by hand so this was new. You find out how most people self-teach themselves how to sew.
Why a duck? Why is the duck the mascot of Camp Wonder?
There was a little girl at camp that told Francesca that she wished she was a duck so that all her feathers would cover her skin. This comment melted Francesca’s heart so much she changed the logo from a smiling cloud to a duck.
How do you pay for the fabric and who makes all these ducks?
The first couple of years my girlfriend and I made them. I tried to do it all by myself but 200 ducks a year it was a bit much. I then joined the El Camino Foothill and they started volunteering, and later a philanthropy group would donate some funds for fabric. A lady from church, Joanne, who foster girls from her church, donated funds for fabric, a few dollars each, and those add up. A lot of people send me fabric, I only accept fleece because they have to be washable. Fleece and flannel were the ones that the campers liked best, but fleece was best. Everything has to be able to be washed in the washing machine and I advise to turn the dryer on low.
Do you accept donations of fabric?
I do, but I would rather people donate money to the Camp (http://csdf.org/). Still, if anyone would like to donate fabric, you can contact me on Facebook and I will give you my address. Fleece only, of course any ‘child’ related pattern for boys and girls, not too many butterflies though, please. Ha Ha.
What does it mean to you to do this and why do you do it?
It means a lot to me because I make them with my own hands and I can give them to each of the kids. It’s the only way I can ever give back to camp, and the only way I can contribute to camp. I will do it as long as they let me.
Do you know of any cute stories of what children do with the ducks?
A lot of the kids line them up on their bed and just absolutely love them. Just to see the smile on their faces makes my day.
If you would like to donate to Camp Wonder their ‘Ways you can Help’ page is here. The Children’s Skin Disease Foundation is dedicated to educating the public about skin diseases while creating a support network for children and their families. Camp Wonder is the summer camp experience that changes children’s lives and gives them a childhood without limits, a place where children with any skin disease can go to forget about the pain and have a childhood without limits.