By Carrie Park, Class of 2016
I come before you today to out my friend, Gelin Camp. Although she presents herself as a banker by trade, she is nothing but a bleeding-heart philanthropist. I am here to tell the tale of her hypocrisy.
Let me set the stage. The event was the Polar Bear Plunge for the Chippewa Lake Lion’s Club. For those of you who steer clear of masochistic behavior, a Polar Bear Plunge is where a bunch of well-meaning but insane individuals ask people to pledge money to watch them jump into a frozen lake. I know what you’re thinking because I was right there with you: A LION’s club using a POLAR BEAR to promote a fund raiser? What kind of an organization would use such a mixed metaphor? Apparently one that in 2015, distributed over $18,000 to local families suffering from unexpected medical crises, deaths, fires, food insecurity, and other disasters. But I digress.
The event took place on January 30, 2016. To support our good friend and Lioness, Shelly Wharton, Gelin and I registered with 59 others for the 5K Fun Run. Truth be told, we were more “Fun Walkers” than “Fun Runners” and furthermore, we only walked halfway. But they had already taken our registration money, so we figured we were allowed to make alterations. Our goal was not so much to exercise in the name of a good cause as it was to make it to the Village Inn afterward and meet up with Shelly.
Having walked a grueling 2 ½ K, we found a table at the Inn and ordered beers and a pizza. Shelly, a nurse and lawyer by trade, had to wait until all 90 jumpers completed their polar plunges. Her first concern was to make sure none of them died from shock and second, and probably more important, that none of them sued.
As we waited for Shelly, another Lioness came around and offered us the chance to participate in a 50/50 raffle. She told us we could purchase tickets individually or pay a set price for an “arm’s length.” I had never heard of this type of pricing scheme, but apparently Gelin had. She not only asked for the arm’s length option but also successfully argued for a couple extra tickets to be thrown in since she claimed to have unusually short arms. A banker’s move if I ever saw one. “Put your name on the back of each duplicate ticket. We’ll announce the number and name in about an hour,” the Lioness instructed.
Shelly finally arrived after the last jumper waived his rights to sue and sat down with us. The 50/50 drawing was about to happen. The original Lioness who sold us the tickets approached the stage and drew the winning ticket from a bucket. “The winner is number 3-8-0-5-1-9 with the name CAMP on the back.” Even people who knew they had not written “CAMP” on the back read all of their ticket numbers carefully.
“Oh, I won,” Gelin said, almost imperceptibly.
“Hang on,” I informed her. “I’m still reading my numbers.”
Gelin went up to the stage and presented her winning ticket. The Lioness gave her a handful of money and announced to the crowd that it was $285. Gelin returned with wad in hand and promptly turned it over to Shelly.
“A donation,” she said.
“What?” I asked.
“That’s what I was always told you did when you won,” she said simply.
“I thought you were supposed to buy a pair of shoes. You are just a banker in sheep’s clothing!” I accused.
“That doesn’t even make sense,” she responded.
“Maybe not, but I have had two Christmas Ales. You are so not a banker!”
“You’re married to a banker,” she pointed out.
“Don’t interrupt me. Let me present the evidence. One: you never even counted that wad of money!” I stood up, gaining momentum. “Second: you didn’t even take out your original capital investment! And last, you didn’t request a letter for the tax deduction! I rest my case!” I said, sitting victoriously.
“Do you have a point?” she asked.
“I do! I have all the points! Game. Set. Match!” I announced, draining my cup and slamming it on the table.
“She needs another beer,” Shelly observed.
“Probably!” I agreed. “Oh, there you go! Last-est, you are being my designated driver!”
“Yes, indeed,” Gelin said.
So, there are the facts. You be the jury, ladies and gentlemen, and decide whether or not Gelin is a banker or a philanthropist. Me? I’m not exactly sure. This all seemed to make a lot more sense at the time.
The 23 proud members of the Chippewa Lake Lions Club are an equal opportunity receiver of donations and don’t turn down funds just because you shun cold water or forgot to run or walk in Chippewa Lake on Sunday. They can be reached at Chippewa Lake Lions Club PO Box 71 Chippewa Lake OH 44215 or you can contact Shelly directly at 330.421.4473 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Have a philanthropy story you want to share? Guest writers (a.k.a. Active Alumni and Current Class members) can send their stories to Colleen at email@example.com. Surely there are other sheep out there?